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North Carolina Lawmakers Reject Medicaid Expansion

North Carolina’s Republican Lawmakers are sticking by conservative principles early in Gov. Pat McCrory’s first term. Last week, he signed legislation cutting unemployment benefits. The move was an attempt to pay back debt owed the federal government earlier.

And this week, legislators voted for and sent along a piece of legislation that would reject a federal option to expand Medicaid.

The rationale Republicans gave was that expanding Medicaid would cause about 80 percent of new recipients to leave their private health insurance in favor of government sponsored aid. They based this figure on a report by the Department of Veterans Affairs. But News & Observer reporter John Frank said on The State of Things that the lead author of that report disputed Republicans’ take.

“When we talked to the study’s author…he says that they’re misquoting the study. Pulling out a section that doesn’t apply to what they’re talking about here in North Carolina.”

The federal government agreed to pay 100 percent of the cost of new Medicaid recipients until 2016 and 90 percent after that. But lawmakers didn’t trust the government’s promise of payment.

“Republican lawmakers weren’t satisfied with that assurance, saying given the federal deficit and discussions in Washington, there really is no guarantee on any federal money right now,” Frank said.  

Governor McCrory hasn’t yet signed the bill into law, but he is expected to.

Alex Granados joined The State of Things in July 2010. He got his start in radio as an intern for the show in 2005 and loved it so much that after trying his hand as a government reporter, reader liaison, features, copy and editorial page editor at a small newspaper in Manassas, Virginia, he returned to WUNC. Born in Baltimore but raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, Alex moved to Raleigh in time to do third grade twice and adjust to public school after having spent years in the sheltered confines of a Christian elementary education. Alex received a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also has a minor in philosophy, which basically means that he used to think he was really smart but realized he wasn’t in time to switch majors. Fishing, reading science fiction, watching crazy movies, writing bad short stories, and shooting pool are some of his favorite things to do. Alex still doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up, but he is holding out for astronaut.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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