NC Governor Promises Medicaid Expansion Despite Looming Obamacare Repeal
By Gloria Taylor
Just days after being sworn into office, the new Governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper, announced his intention to expand the state’s Medicaid program under Obamacare. Gov. Cooper narrowly beat incumbent Pat McCrory, who refused the expansion back in 2014. Members of North Carolina’s General Assembly, still under Republican control, have already levied harsh criticism.
If Gov. Cooper actually expands the program he will violate state law passed under McCrory and the General Assembly requiring consent to reverse the initial expansion rejection. Gov. Cooper isn’t the first liberal to launch a last ditch effort to enroll more people as Obamacare is likely in its dying days. Not only is Gov. Cooper’s intention to expand Medicaid illegal, it ignores Medicaid’s failure and the necessity for a full repeal of Obamacare.
Originally designed to act as a safety net for low income children, pregnant women, and disabled people, Obamacare expanded Medicaid to include any able-bodied working person aged 19-64 below 138% of the federal poverty line. By including a whole new class of people to cover, Obamacare compounded the already existing problems in this entitlement. The lack of adequate federal compensation has many doctors refusing new Medicaid patients resulting in less choice and worse care for low-income Americans. Medicaid spending already devours state budgets and this is only worse under Obamacare.
Medicaid expansion has done nothing to increase choice, better health outcomes, or put the program on a fiscally sustainable path. Thankfully, Congress has the power to make the entire Obamacare Medicaid expansion history in a matter of weeks.
After voting to repeal Obamacare 60 times and winning a majority in both chambers, the GOP has every possible tool to get rid of this policy disaster. A full repeal tackles Medicaid as well as individual and employer mandates, insurance regulations, taxes, and subsides. Pulling back the federal government’s role in the insurance market through this repeal lets conservatives take steps towards lowering costs, increasing choice of and access to quality care, and restoring the doctor-patient relationship.
Now is not the time for North Carolina to add its name to the expansion list. After restoring the program to pre-Obamacare levels, giving Medicaid an actual budget and a premium support model moves the program in the right direction.