This State Could Be the Last One (for a While, Anyway) to Expand Medicaid

The story has been updated to correct the number of organizations comprising the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas. It is 128. For years, state Sen. Phil Berger says, there was nobody in North Carolina who opposed Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act more vehemently than he did. “If there was somebody in the state of North Carolina that had spoken out publicly in opposition to Medicaid expansion more than me, I’d like to talk to that person,” Berger said in an interview last month. From the time the ACA passed in 2010 until last spring, “my attitude was Medicaid expansion was wrong for North Carolina,” he said. Berger, a Republican, is president pro tempore of the North Carolina Senate, the most powerful position in the chamber, so his opposition virtually guaranteed that the legislature would not expand the joint federal/state program to include an additional 600,000 adults with low incomes. That’s why Berger’s recent conversion from opponent to proponent has shot North Carolina to the top of the list of the states that are most likely to break ranks with the other 10 that have refused to expand Medicaid.

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