Senate Democrats file bill to expand Medicaid

Senate Democrats recently filed SB 402 to expand Medicaid, which they say would insure 600,000 North Carolinians and bring the state billions of dollars worth of economic benefits and federal aid. Representative Verla Insko filed similar legislation which would expand Medicaid for pregnant women last month with HB 316.

 

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At a press conference Tuesday morning, Sen. Mike Woodard expressed confidence the legislation would enjoy bipartisan support this time around. In the press conference, Woodward stated:

“As one of only 12 states left that have not expanded Medicaid, we have now seen almost 1.2 million North Carolinians without health insurance, as we stand here today.”

He continued:

“I think there are glimmers of hope. I think there are frameworks to move us forward.”

The expansion of Medicaid is a top priority for Gov. Roy Cooper. Cooper pitched his $27 billion budget proposal on March 25, which calls for Medicaid eligibility expansion beginning Oct. 1. The funds will help rural hospitals stay open, address the opioid epidemic and secure the state’s share of federal resources.

During the press conference, Democrats highlighted the racial disparities in maternal and infant deaths. The most recent data shows that the infant death rate among Black individuals is 12.5 per 1,000 live births, compared to 6.8 deaths per live births in the state. That rate makes North Carolina the 12th highest state for infant mortality in the country, according to statistics by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.