Republican opposition to Medicaid plan mounts in NC

by: Natalie Pasquarella Updated:


RALEIGH, N.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on health care could transform health coverage for the poor.

The ruling means all Americans will have to get insurance or pay a penalty. Now, it’s up to each state to decide whether to opt into an expanded Medicaid program. According to the plan, for the first three years, the federal government will pay for the full cost of the program.

Beginning in 2017, 90 percent of the program will be paid by the federal government with the remaining 10 percent coming from the states.

Bill Brandon, a political expert at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, called the plan a no-brainer for North Carolina because it will create jobs and provide coverage for more people.

“How can you possibly turn down an offer of the federal government paying 90 percent of the cost of Medicaid? That would bring so much extra money into the state,” he said.

However, several Republican-led states are already coming out against the plan. One North Carolina Republican, Sen. Justin Burr, said there are major misconceptions and calls the plan a bribe by the federal government.

“It’s basically bribing states with this mentality that it’s free money when it’s not really free money,” he said.

Burr said expanding Medicaid would create more debt and put extra burdens on taxpayers.

If lawmakers decide to opt out of the expansion, it will not affect current Medicaid funding the state receives.