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North Carolina lawmakers reach Medicaid expansion agreement

A sign reading "Medicaid accepted here."
(Image: Shutterstock)
http://assets.whro.org/pod_230302_ncmedicaid_philion.mp3

An estimated 60,000 people in North Carolina could benefit from Medicaid expansion, with a notable impact on rural areas of the state in the northeastern region.

Lawmakers came to an agreement today and state Republicans said they are moving forward passing an expansion proposal.

“An agreement by legislative leaders to expand Medicaid in North Carolina is a monumental step that will save lives,” said Gov. Roy Cooper.

North Carolina lawmakers came close to approving expansion in the past but couldn't iron out some details.

Medicaid is the national insurance program for low-income Americans. About a fifth of North Carolinians are covered by Medicaid as of October.

To be eligible for Medicaid currently, a family of two needs to make less than $24,353 a year. For a family of four, the cutoff is $36,908.

There are an estimated 15,292 uninsured people living in Northeastern North Carolina. Not all of them would qualify for Medicaid under expansion.

More than 200,000 people in North Carolina are uninsured but ineligible for Medicaid coverage.

For example, childless adults who make more than the cutoff salary for a one-person family but not enough to afford private insurance would make up 77% of people newly eligible for Medicaid if North Carolina expands the program, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Virginia passed Medicaid expansion in 2018. More than 400,000 people became eligible.

The uninsured rate dropped 7.2% among low-income Virginians, and new enrollees reported less financial stress and greater security for non-medical expenses like food.

The world changes fast.

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