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Medicaid $181M under budget, expansion remains unlikely

North Carolina is $181 million under budget in state spending for Medicaid for the first half of the fiscal year.

Members of  the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Medicaid and NC Health Choice learned Tuesday  the favorable budget outlook was driven by several factors:

• Lower service consumption by beneficiaries compared to last fiscal year
• Enrollment was flat through the first half of the year and remains below budget
• Better than expected drug rebate rates also helped

DHHS Finance director Trey Sutten told lawmakers if the numbers don’t fluctuate much over the next few months, the state could come in under budget on its Medicaid spending for a third year in a row.

Legislators are not expected to tackle Medicaid expansion in this year’s short legislative session.

Though a new report released by FamiliesUSA indicates that the eight states that did expand Medicaid last year saw a reduction in the rate of uninsured workers drop by 30 percent or more.

Another study — this one conducted in 2014 by the Cone Health Foundation and Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust — projected that if North Carolina extended its Medicaid coverage by the beginning of this year, 43,000 jobs would be created by 2020.

Medicaid currently serves over 1.8 million low-income North Carolinians. Here’s a look at recent enrollment growth, as presented Tuesday to the oversight committee:Medicaid enrollment

Find the full presentation here.

To learn more about closing the Medicaid coverage gap in North Carolina, click here.

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