Two weeks before the 2013 legislative session gets underway, the leader of the state Senate says his chamber is skeptical about North Carolina expanding Medicaid.
Senate President Phil Berger told reporters  Wednesday healthcare costs overruns during lean budget times have left conservative lawmakers cool toward running a health benefits exchange or expanding the state’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.
Senate Minority Whip Josh Stein  says while his colleagues will need time to study the legislation, he cannot envision a scenario in which North Carolina would not accept expansion of Medicaid:
“The match for four years is 100% paid for by the federal government, and then thereafter it’s a 90-10 match,” explained Stein. “So over a ten year period, it’s something like $15 billion of federal money leveraged by less than a billion, about $700 million in state dollars.”
Sen. Stein, who appears this weekend on News & Views with Chris Fitzsimon, says that federal money will benefit hospitals, doctors and other medical professionals, creating hundreds of jobs across the state.
Medicaid expansion is projected to extend health insurance coverage to 488,867 North Carolinians in 2014, according to a report by the N.C. Budget and Tax Center .
And while Governor Pat McCrory may still be undecided about Medicaid expansion, at least 22 governors  — including four Republicans — now support expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare.
To hear Senator Stein explain why Medicaid expansion makes sense for North Carolina, click below: