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State Health Secretary: NC Needs Federal Cooperation To Expand Medicaid

Image of tools in doctor's office
Flickr/Creative Commons

State health secretary Aldona Wos says North Carolina would likely need to change some of its Medicaid rules to expand the program under the Affordable Care Act. 

The health care law offered to pay for expanded Medicaid through 2016, but North Carolina was one of 24 states that rejected the expansion last year.  Gov. Pat McCrory said the state's Medicaid program was broken, and was not confident the federal government would cover the costs. 

But Wos says Medicaid is now more stable, and she plans to present the governor with options for expanding Medicaid. 

"We're almost there, so really, truly very soon," she said. "And with those options, we are hoping that the federal government will be flexible enough with us in order to allow us to be North Carolina-specific."

Wos told WUNC's The State of Things that some of those options might include small changes to the rules.

"We would like to have opportunities to perhaps focus on trying to get patients healthier... perhaps to have patients have some form of responsibility for simple things like showing up for appointments or taking your medicine; some form of engagement of the citizens," Wos said.

Wos would not say when she plans to present the options to the governor.  The legislature and the federal government would need to approve any changes to the Medicaid program.

Will Michaels is WUNC's Weekend Host and Reporter.
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