The state House gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a bill that blocks NC Medicaid expansion and participation in a state-run health exchange.
Stanly County Republican Rep. Justin Burr warned his colleagues that the federal health care program was not free money and could end up as a burden to state taxpayers.
Durham County Democrat Rep. Mickey Michaux countered that accepting the federal money to help 500,000 uninsured North Carolinians would do something lawmakers have struggled to do – create jobs:
“You haven’t created a job in the two years that you’ve been here! You’ve got 23,000 jobs on the line right here,” said Michaux.
Healthcare advocates project that Medicaid expansion, which would be fully funded by the federal government for the first three years, would pump $15 billion into the state’s economy and create nearly 25,000 jobs during that time period.
Wake County Rep. Deborah Ross said rejecting billions to aid both the uninsured and the state’s health care industry was simply shortsighted:
“Why are we turning this down for the three years that it’s guaranteed at 100 percent? I think it’s fear and loathing. Fear of something you don’t control…and loathing of the fact we have the Affordable Care Act in the first place,” said Ross. “And that is the saddest thing, to do something just cause you’re mad.”
Senate Bill 4 faces a final vote in the House Thursday.
Governor McCrory issued a statement Tuesday saying Medicaid expansion was not in North Carolina’s best interests.
To hear highlights from Wednesday’s debate, click below: