Watch: Governor Roy Cooper sign Medicaid expansion bill (video)
Republican and Democratic leaders were all smiles Monday at Raleigh’s Executive Mansion for a signing ceremony of House Bill 76, Access to Healthcare Options. The legislation will expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of uninsured North Carolinians, once the state budget is finalized.
“Medicaid expansion is a once-in-a-generation investment that will strengthen our mental health system, boost our rural hospitals, support working families and so much more,” said Cooper. “This is a historic step toward a healthier North Carolina that will bring people the opportunity of better health and a better life.”
The governor also thanked Republican legislators who showed “a willingness to change their minds” about expansion and hammer out a compromise.
In his remarks, Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger said Medicaid transformation set the groundwork for the move to join 39 other states in expanding the program.
“It was imperative that in expanding Medicaid, we addressed the availability and cost of health care. We were able to chip away at those issues with this bill,” said Berger. “The certificate of need reforms in the bill takes direct aim at regulations that are the biggest impediments to the availability of health care and the regulations that increase cost.”
Berger said the changes outlined in HB 76 make North Carolina more attractive for providers, health care facilities, and hospitals in North Carolina.
In North Carolina, rural residents are 40% more likely to be uninsured and eligible for Medicaid expansion, according to the Department of Health & Human Services.
“Medicaid expansion is foundational in improving access to health care in rural areas, for better mental health and for veterans, working adults and their families. For 600,000 people, Medicaid expansion is life changing,” said said DHHS Secretary Kody Kinsley.
Click below to watch a short excerpt from Monday’s signing ceremony:
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