NC Senate approves legislation to opt out of health exchanges - WNCN: News, Weather

NC Senate approves legislation to opt out of health exchanges

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

The North Carolina state Senate has given its initial OK to legislation that would block expansion of Medicaid under the health care overhaul and let the federal government build the state's health insurance exchange.
    
Republicans gave tentative approval to the bill Monday night in a party-line, 31-17 vote despite concerns from the administration of new GOP Gov. Pat McCrory.
    
His top advocate at the General Assembly wrote to senators asking for additional time to examine the financial impact of the bill. Fred Steen said the governor agrees with the concepts in the measure against expansion and the state's involvement in an exchange.
    
A final Senate vote is expected Tuesday.
    
Democrats voting no say rejecting the Medicaid expansion will deny needed insurance coverage to hundreds of thousands of residents.

"We are not running a state exchange because, to be honest, there's no such thing," said the bill's primary sponsor, Sen. Tom Apodaca. "A state exchange gives no state control but would cost the people of North Carolina $100 million a year. The federal government chose to mandate health exchanges, so it should pay for them. 

"And Obamacare's changes to Medicaid would cost North Carolinians close to a billion dollars through 2019. The federal government is trying to bait us in with ‘free' federal money that switches to state money after a few years, leaving our taxpayers holding the bag. We are working to protect the economic health of our state."

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