North Carolina expanding Medicaid Dec. 1

North Carolina will launch its Medicaid expansion program Dec. 1, which is expected to provide more than 600,000 state residents with coverage. 

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services anticipates that on Dec. 1, about 300,000 people currently receiving Medicaid Family Planning benefits will automatically be enrolled in full health care coverage, according to a Sept. 25 news release from governor Roy Cooper's office. 

The Sept. 25 announcement comes after the governor on Sept. 22 directed the department to begin the Medicaid expansion process following the state legislature's passage of the budget.

The governor signed Medicaid expansion into law in March, but funding for the program was tied to the legislature passing the state's 2023-2024 budget. 

Mr. Cooper said in a Sept. 22 statement that overall it was a "bad budget" but added that the legislature's decade of refusal to expand Medicaid has "caused life and death situations for so many North Carolinians and threatened the very existence of numerous rural hospitals."

"I will not allow people who are crying for help to wait any longer, so I am directing our department of health and human services to begin today the process for expanding Medicaid while allowing this budget to become law without my signature," he said. 

North Carolina is one of 41 states that has expanded Medicaid since it was authorized in 2014.

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