On Wednesday, N.C. Rep. Ben Moss, R-Moore, announced he will change his vote on Medicaid expansion, vowing to vote “no” when it returns to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

“I had originally voted for Medicaid expansion because I care about healthcare access in rural and underserved communities across the state,” said Moss. “Now, having had more time to review the proposal and solicit feedback from my constituents, I’ve found that this proposal will have the opposite effect in the long run, and it is bad news for my district, our state, and our nation. The heavy hand of government is not able to supplant the free market approach to keeping health care affordable for all. I remain committed to ensuring quality healthcare access, and that’s why I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting the SAVE Act and full repeal of CON.”

Moss also called Medicaid expansion a “shortsighted approach” that would leave the state high and dry without addressing the root of the problem, and said the current proposal does not account for the cost of adding half a million new beneficiaries to the Medicaid rolls.

“Medicaid expansion is a budget black hole that would crowd out important spending,” said Moss. “Medicaid already takes up a large portion of North Carolina’s budget, at about $4 billion and growing. When the federal government gets hit with higher-than-expected Medicaid costs, they have the ability to print more money and add to the growing national debt. North Carolina is required to have a balanced budget, so any higher costs mean either higher taxes or spending cuts elsewhere.”

North Carolina Republican legislative leaders announced an agreement to expand Medicaid last week. Gov. Roy Cooper praised the decision in his State of the State speech on Monday.

In a Senate committee on Tuesday, Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell, said this bill would eliminate the following Certificate of Need requirements:

  • Behavioral health beds
  • Chemical dependency beds
  • MRIs in counties with populations above 125,000, effective three years from the first H.A.S.P. payment
  • Ambulatory surgical centers in counties with populations above 125,000, effective two years from the first H.A.S.P. payment

Additionally, the bill will raise the replacement equipment threshold to $3 million and index annually to inflation. The bill will do the same for diagnostic centers. Surgical centers that are exempt from Certificate of Need will be required to have a 4% charity care requirement for centers in counties with populations above 125,000.

The Senate Finance Committee approved the Medicaid expansion bill quickly today and sent it to the Senate Appropriations/Base Budget Committee. It will then head to the Senate Rules Committee before going to the floor for a vote. Then, the House is expected to hold a vote for concurrence.