ENC Republican lawmakers overjoyed following Medicaid expansion’s final approval

Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 10:37 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) -It’s been a long-awaited announcement for many in North Carolina.

“It’s a good day for hardworking North Carolinians,” said Republican Eastern Carolina State Representative Chris Humphrey. “No doubt about it.”

The House of Representatives voted 87 to 24 for the final Medicaid expansion approval Thursday.

A decision that had Republicans like Humphrey skeptical, but says his view changed after seeing how it will help struggling counties.

“When they (inmates) get sick and have to go to the emergency room or hospital, after 24 hours of care the counties actually pick up that tab,” Humphrey said. “That’s millions of dollars.”

Medicaid expansion within North Carolina has been considered since 2010 when the Affordable Care Act was signed into law.

It has put many who don’t qualify for traditional coverage in a tough place, which is why Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper believes it’s life-changing.

“This is a once in a generation investment that’s going to make sure we have healthier North Carolinians and a stronger economy,” Cooper said.

Once Cooper officially signs the bill into law, the Tar Heel State could see an estimated extra $1.75 billion in cash over the next two years thanks to the COVID-19 recovery law.

The state’s 10 percent share of expenses for those receiving Medicaid expansion will be paid through hospital assessments.

Humphrey feels the expansion will also create more healthcare positions.

“There’s going to be more jobs available,” Humphrey said. “We’re in a rut right now all across the country trying to fill positions, but it’s going to save people money.”

Once Cooper signs the bill there will only be 10 states who haven’t adopted Medicaid expansion.