Health exchanges / Medicaid expansion

North Carolina will have to decide whether to run a health insurance exchange or expand Medicaid in response to the federal Affordable Care Act. STATUS: The Senate approved a bill prohibiting Medicaid expansion or state involvement in health exchanges on Tuesday, Feb. 5. The full House gave final approval to the measure on Feb. 14. Senate lawmakers rejected the House version of the bill. However, Sen. Tom Apodaca said that a conference committee has met and resolved the differences. That measure has been approved by the House and Senate and signed by the governor. It is now law.

 

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the federal Affordable Care Act is legal, states have two big decisions to make. First, North Carolina must decide whether it will run or help run a health insurance market or allow the federal government to run the health care exchange. Second, the state much decide whether it will expand Medicaid to cover more people, as made possible by the federal health care law.

Before she left office, former Gov. Bev Perdue said the state would pursue a joint exchange with the federal government, but it appears now that decision will be reversed. Lawmakers in both chambers have filed bills to block North Carolina from participating in the exchanges. The same bills would keep the state from expanding its Medicaid program as allowed by law. 

Bills and status:

The Senate has approved a bill prohibiting Medicaid expansion or state involvement in health exchanges on Tuesday, Feb. 5. The House Health Committee approved the Senate bill, making on technical changes to ensure that it would not threaten funding for the NC FAST computer system. The full House gave final approval to the measure on Feb. 14. Senate lawmakers rejected the House version of the bill. However, Sen. Tom Apodaca said that a conference committee has met and resolved the differences. That measure is expected to be approved by the legislature the week of Feb. 25. 

Update (2/27/13): The bill has now cleared the House and Senate and is pending on Gov. Pat McCrory's desk. 

Update (3/6/13): Gov. Pat McCrory has signed the bill and it has become law. 

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