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NC House Gives Final Approval to its Medicaid Expansion Bill

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The state House made quick work of its proposal to expand Medicaid to more low-income adults, moving the bill through committees, floor votes, and out to the state Senate in three days.

The chamber gave final approval to its version of Medicaid expansion with a 92-22 vote Thursday.

About 600,000 adults in North Carolina fall into a health insurance gap. They make too much to qualify for standard Medicaid but too little to qualify for subsidized insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace.

North Carolina is one of 11 states that has not moved to expand Medicaid.

North Carolina has debated expanding Medicaid for years. Democrats have always wanted it, while Republican legislative leaders were staunchly opposed. A significant turning point came last year when Senate leader Phil Berger announced he had changed his mind.

Rep. Donny Lambeth urged his colleagues to support Medicaid expansion.

The Senate passed a Medicaid expansion bill last year that included several additional health policy provisions. The House did not act on that bill.

The House bill approved Thursday did not include the policy provisions Senate Republicans want, setting up likely hard negotiations between the House and Senate.

“This is part of history,” said Rep. Donny Lambeth, a Winston-Salem Republican who was one of the bill’s main sponsors. He urged support for the bill so House members and senators can begin discussions.