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State Officials Have Plans to Close Medicaid Shortfall

State officials say they have a plan to close a huge shortfall in North Carolina's Medicaid budget.

Jessica Jones: The roughly 150 million dollar shortfall has been a source of contention and worry among state lawmakers and officials. State budget director Andy Willis told a legislative committee today that Medicaid funds to pay medical providers were expected to run out by the end of the month. But he says the Department of Health and Human Services has found 45 million dollars to pay those bills until the upcoming legislative session in May. Republican leaders in Raleigh can authorize the use of additional unspent funds, including about 145 million dollars worth of extra revenue collections. Meanwhile, Governor Bev Perdue's administration says federal Medicaid regulators have given the state an extension until the end of the year to comply with new requirements for in-home recipients of personal care services.

Jessica Jones covers both the legislature in Raleigh and politics across the state. Before her current assignment, Jessica was given the responsibility to open up WUNC's first Greensboro Bureau at the Triad Stage in 2009. She's a seasoned public radio reporter who's covered everything from education to immigration, and she's a regular contributor to NPR's news programs. Jessica started her career in journalism in Egypt, where she freelanced for international print and radio outlets. After stints in Washington, D.C. with Voice of America and NPR, Jessica joined the staff of WUNC in 1999. She is a graduate of Yale University.
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