On Thursday, March 2, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) released a statement on Medicaid expansion in the state, which it called “a momentous agreement that will directly improve the health and well-being of 600,000 North Carolinians.”

The statement came just hours after North Carolina legislators in the General Assembly reached a decision to approve Medicaid expansion after debating the matter for years.

The official vote will be taken later in March however both Speaker of the state House Rep. Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) and Speaker Pro Tem of the state Senate Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) support this Medicaid expansion effort.  Since Republicans control the state House and Senate that almost certainly assures its passage.

North Carolina has been one of about a dozen states that had yet to adopt Medicaid expansion since it became an option years ago.

The statement from the NCDHHS reads: “We applaud the efforts by the General Assembly to move this forward. Medicaid expansion will be transformative for access to health care in rural areas, for better mental health and for veterans, working adults and their families” and it went on to call the expansion “life changing” for those who will now be covered but weren’t before.

NCDHHS officials say they’ll carefully review the proposed new legislation and that they look forward to working with the General Assembly to construct the expansion in such a ways that it will maximize the federal funds coming to North Carolina to support hospitals and access to care across the state.

Medicaid Expansion – along with the Health Access and Stabilization Plan (HASP) – will bring $8 billion annually to North Carolina with no additional cost to the state.

HASP taps into a federal program that allows states to direct funds to hospitals and other providers through the managed care contracts.

With the Medicaid expansion, there may also be about $1.8 billion that can be used to support behavioral health, public safety support, rural health care, and other needs across the state.