The Democratic Governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper, is making swift moves to undermine the GOP agenda. This time, he’s got his eyes set on healthcare.
Cooper says that he plans to quickly expand Medicaid in the state before President-elect Donald Trump enters the white house. This promise clearly creates conflict with Republicans in North Carolina — the very same group that has explicitly passed a law to keep Gov. Cooper from making a move like that.
In a letter to the Center for Medicaid Services on Friday, Cooper requested expansion of Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act — despite the fact that Trump and other Congressional Republicans have vowed to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law.
Cooper’s Medicaid expansion would extend eligibility to people with incomes 138 percent below the federal poverty level. Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government would be required to pay for 95 percent of the cost of the Medicaid expansion and then slightly less each year until the total they’re required to pay reaches 90 percent, which would be in 2020.
In a statement, Gov. Cooper explained that hospitals pay roughly $1 billion in care each year to North Carolina residents that are unable to pay the medical bills that they incur. To him, this means that expanding Medicaid is “common sense.” According to the Huffington Post, if Cooper is able to execute his plan, more than half a million North Carolina residents could begin receiving healthcare in January 2018.
Cooper sees the expansion as benefiting all parties involved.
“We can receive between $3 billion and $4 billion to pay for care that hospitals and other providers now give away. That will create jobs, bolster our hospitals, could save some rural hospitals and work toward more stable private insurance premiums.”