Senate ignores Medicaid expansion in budget; Berger says it ‘disincentivizes folks to go to work’ (video)

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger made it clear Tuesday that Medicaid expansion was off the table in this year’s state budget.

Flanked by his chief budget writers, Berger told reporters that 40 percent of the potential Medicaid expansion population qualify for some form of subsidized insurance coverage on the federal marketplace and might view expansion as a disincentive to find work.

Click below to listen to Berger’s remarks.

As Richard Craver reports in the Winston-Salem Journal, the Senate’s stance sets up as major fight with the House and Governor Cooper’s office as they work to hammer out a final state spending plan.

When asked about Cooper opposition to the Senate budget proposal sans Medicaid expansion, Berger acknowledged the potential for lengthy negotiations.

“We are likely to have a disagreement with the governor (over Medicaid expansion) but not that it should prevent an agreement,” Berger said.

“He should look at how the state’s revenues have been managed the last nine years and the fiscal soundness.

We’re going to continue those policies.

“He should sign the budget that we work out with the House,” Berger said.

None of the three Democratic and Republican bills containing Medicaid language have advanced in the committee stage this session

That includes bipartisan support behind House Bill 655, sponsored by state Rep. Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth, which includes a work requirement for some recipients.

Read the rest of Craver’s story here.

The Senate’s budget will be before the full Appropriations Committee this morning starting at 8:30am and the Finance Committee at 1:00pm. Floor votes on the budget are expected Thursday and Friday.

Click here to read more of the 2019 Appropriations Act.

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