Home / Politics / In act of resistance, NC Gov. Roy Cooper moves to expand Medicaid, but obstacles are daunting

In act of resistance, NC Gov. Roy Cooper moves to expand Medicaid, but obstacles are daunting

Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper

As he promised he would do earlier this week, North Carolina’s Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper acted Friday to join other states who have expanded Medicaid. If Cooper’s executive order passes muster, it would—as allowed under the Affordable Care Act—extend health coverage to hundreds of thousands of citizens beginning in 2018, . But there are numerous hurdles, including a state legislature whose gerrymandered districts have given Republicans overwhelming majorities in both houses.

About 1.8 million people in the state are enrolled in Medicaid in North Carolina. The program costs about $14 billion a year, with the federal government picking up about two-thirds of the cost. Cooper’s proposal would make as many as half a million more citizens eligible to for the program.

Lynn Bonner reports:

Proposed changes to the state plan must be posted on the state Department of Health and Human Services website for 10 days before a request goes to the federal government office that oversees Medicaid, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS. The state is accepting comments on the proposal.

Republican legislative leaders are already fighting it.

In a letter to CMS, legislative leaders said Cooper was violating the state constitution and three state laws. One of those laws, passed in 2013 prevents Medicaid expansion without legislative approval.

In addition to getting past legislative objections and getting CMS approval, Cooper’s plan requires matching funds from hospitals in the range of $100 million-$150 million in the first year.

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