Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Democratic N.C. governor wants to expand Medicaid before Trump gets in; GOP says illegal

The Obama administration said Monday it will act quickly on plans by North Carolina's recently elected Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to expand Medicaid in the state, William Douglas and Lesley Clark report for McClatchy Newspapers. President-elect Donald Trump has said repealing federal health reform, of which Medicaid expansion is the most expensive part, is one of his first priorities after taking office at noon Jan. 20.

Cooper last week sent a letter to federal officials "alerting them of his intention to expand Medicaid, which currently covers 1.9 million North Carolinians and costs $14 billion a year," reports McClatchy Newspapers. "Two-thirds of the expense is paid for by the federal government."

North Carolina Republicans in the House and state legislature responded with "a letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Acting Administrator Andrew Slavitt, urging him to reject Cooper’s expansion plan," McClatchy reports. They "said Cooper’s move was illegal because a 2013 state law prevented the governor from seeking expanded Medicaid coverage without the state legislature’s support." They wrote: “Any governor of North Carolina does not have the legal authority to submit a Medicaid expansion plan to CMS. Such actions would commit the state to approximately $600 million in new spending each year."

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