Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina would not help the federal government create a federal health insurance exchange or expand the state Medicaid program under a bill that passed the Senate Insurance Committee Thursday morning.
The bill blocks any state agency from taking any actions related to federal health exchanges unless explicitly authorized to do so by the General Assembly.
Rose Vaughn Williams, a lawyer with the N.C. Department of Insurance, said her agency was concerned about the bill. In particular, she said, the bill could trigger greater federal involvement in jobs the state is doing now.
"They could swoop in and start taking over the duties we have," she said.
Democrats on the committee objected to the bill, saying that the state was passing on an opportunity to tailor the exchange program to meet the needs of residents.
"From a customer service standpoint, we have a tremendous opportunity," said Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham.
Some studies have shown the state would save $65 million over the next decade by expanding the Medicaid law. A report for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services suggested Medicaid expansion would create 23,000 jobs.
"This is going to cost more jobs than it will ever create," said Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, the bill's sponsor.
The measure passed on a voice vote in committee.
Apodaca said the bill would be received in the full Senate today and debated on Monday night.