House Lawmakers Pass Bill To Block Medicaid Expansion

Feb 14, 2013

Credit Dave DeWitt / WUNC

State lawmakers in the House have passed a bill that would block an expansion of North Carolina's Medicaid program. It passed on third reading Thursday. Republican lawmakers are opposed to enlarging Medicaid to help cover about 500,000 uninsured residents under the Affordable Care Act. Representative John Blust says the state would end up covering too many costs.

"This body's been cast in a difficult situation because of just the makeup of the health care law and the makeup of our politics today. You're left again- are you gonna drink cyanide, or are you going to drink arsenic?"

But most Democratic legislators disagree. They say under this bill, hospitals- especially rural ones- would lose key funding that would've been replaced through Medicaid expansion. The bill would also require North Carolina to provide health coverage through a federal rather than a state exchange.