Powerful Republican Lawmaker Rolls Out Medicaid Expansion Bill

Apr 11, 2017

Republican Representative Donny Lambeth
Credit NCGA

On Tuesday, a new plan to expand Medicaid coverage in North Carolina was rolled out. But this one is different. It's proposed by a powerful Republican leader in the state House.

Representative Donny Lambeth is the chair of both the Health and Health Care Reform committees in the House.

He is also the cosponsor of a bill called Carolina Cares which amounts to expanding the number of poor North Carolinians who would qualify for Medicaid so long as they meet some specific requirements. "The residents are between the age of 19 and no older than 64," explained Lambeth, "The resident must be employed or engaged in activities to promote employment. And a major difference that makes this different than other states is that the participants must make certain commitments which focus on preventative care."

Things like regular checkups, trips to the dentist, colonoscopies, mammograms and weight management programs. They would also have to pay a small premium for coverage.

Lambeth estimates this would help roughly 200,000 North Carolinians who do not qualify for standard Medicaid and who can't qualify for or don’t get insurance through other means.

In the past, costs to the state have been a major reason Republican leaders in the General Assembly have stated as to why they don’t want to expand Medicaid. Lambeth stated this plan would come with no cost to the state since, with Obamacare still in place, the Federal Government would cover 90 percent of the overall cost of expansion. The rest, he said, would be covered by hospitals in the state. A provision also called for by Governor Roy Cooper.