A Republican compromise version of Medicaid expansion moved forward in a House committee Tuesday with bipartisan support. And Democratic Gov.
The compromise bill heard in House committee, called "NC Health Care for Working Families," is a type of Medicaid expansion, said House Speaker
The work requirement is a key difference between this and Cooper's Medicaid expansion. Participants' costs would be 2% of their household income, billed monthly. It would cover those residents who meet all federal Medicaid citizenship and immigration requirements and are not eligible for Medicaid under the current program.
Other requirements include: Their modified adjusted gross income is not higher than 133% of the federal poverty level; they are not entitled to or enrolled in Medicare Part A or B; and they are between the ages of 19 and 64.
Tuesday, Cooper called the health bill discussion a good step forward.
"Clearly, if they're discussing it, they realize that it's an important part of this process, but it has to go through two chambers in order to pass, and I'll leave it at that," Cooper said during a news conference rolling out the new budget compromise.
No changes were made to his Medicaid expansion push from his previous proposal. Cooper's Medicaid expansion does not include work requirements or premiums.
"I would rather have a pure Medicaid expansion, and here's why," Cooper said. "It costs more to enforce premiums and work requirements than it's worth. We've seen it in other states, and in addition, most of the people we're talking about, the vast majority of people are already working, but those are items that can be discussed as we continue to negotiate this budget."
The Republican Medicaid compromise
In the Republican compromise, Lambeth said the benefit structure is tied to wellness and preventative care with patients being assigned a primary care provider.
"A lot of people don't take care of their selves even if they have health insurance," Lambeth said. "They don't like going to the doctor. ... You've got to participate in the program. You've got to go to your screenings. Personally I hate going to those."
Preventative care would help teachers at childcare centers, said
Brooks said one teacher who died had high blood pressure that led to a heart attack, which she said may have been prevented with earlier doctor visits.
Care4Carolina is a part of the
Critics of the plan
The bill "will create new barriers to health care for those it aims to help," she said. The 2%-of-income premium is a lot for some families and will force people to choose between health care and putting food on the table, she said.
"The work requirements in this bill are completely unnecessary and fiscally irresponsible," Cerese said.
"Any new spending will add to deficit and debt," Bryson said. He said hearing about taxes paying for it doesn't make him feel great as a fiscal conservative.
Conservative opposition could make the plan a tough sell in the state
"I don't see where the votes exist to pass Medicaid expansion in the
Berger criticized Cooper as being unwilling to separate the issues of the budget and Medicaid: "I think as long as the governor insists as Medicaid expansion as the first step before we can talk about the other things, I don't think his proposals are serious."
Rural health care
The bill also provides grants for rural access to health care. It would create a special fund in the
No single grant would be greater than
"Remember rural health care is just going to get worse if we do nothing," Lambeth said.
Cooper budget compromise
Cooper rolled out several proposals in a budget counter offer Tuesday, including restoring master's degree pay for teachers. A raise for teachers with advanced degrees was in Cooper's original budget but not in the legislature's budget.
Other items in Cooper's new proposal:
-- Increase teacher pay by an average of 8.5% over two years.
-- Higher state employee pay raises: 5% raises for state employees, 5% for non-certified school personnel, 5% for UNC employees and 4% for community college employees.
-- 2% cost of living adjustment for retired state employees.
-- Keep private school vouchers but do not increase funding.
-- Instead of moving the
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