NC Healthcare Association Cheers Launch of Medicaid Expansion

Raleigh, NC – Nov. 30, 2023 — The North Carolina Healthcare Association (NCHA) and our 130 hospital and health system members are excited to see the launch of Medicaid expansion this week. For over a century, we have worked to ensure that all North Carolinians have access to care they need, when they need it. Medicaid expansion will provide health care coverage to an estimated 600,000 North Carolinians, improving their ability to access the right care at the right time and receive regular preventive care. 

“This is a time to celebrate as North Carolina takes a huge step forward to make comprehensive health care more widely available to hard-working families across the state,” said Steve Lawler, NCHA’s president and chief executive officer. “It will also help many struggling rural hospitals by providing funding for those who have always been cared for, but not paid for, thus reducing the amount of uncompensated care hospitals provide.” 

It is important to note that North Carolina’s hospitals are paying for the state’s share of the cost of Medicaid expansion through a new tax of approximately $550 million a year, a financial arrangement that comes with some uncertainty for them. According to legislation passed earlier this year in House Bill 76, hospitals will pay the tax assessment and get reimbursed by the state by applying for and using federal funds from the Healthcare Access and Stabilization Program (HASP). The state’s application to participate in that program will have to be approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) each year, which is not guaranteed to always happen. 

“The hospitals are paying this new tax because it is the right thing to do. Our state’s hospitals and the remarkable people who work there have always been about doing the right thing for the people and communities they serve. We are so thankful that the General Assembly, Governor Cooper and our health system and hospitals members created a pathway to make access to high-quality health care available to so many more people,” Lawler added. 

This week, hospitals are receiving their first HASP payments, federal funds that will help to stabilize rural hospitals and allow hospitals to continue work underway to address issues such as our growing mental health crisis. This federally funded program comes at no cost to the state and will help to improve provider participation in the Medicaid program, strengthening network adequacy and access to care. 

About NCHA 

Founded in 1918, North Carolina Healthcare Association (NCHA) is the united voice of the North Carolina healthcare community. Representing more than 130 hospitals, health systems, physician groups and other healthcare organizations, NCHA works with our members to improve the health of North Carolina communities by advocating for sound public policies and collaborative partnerships and by providing insights, services, support, and education to expand access to high quality, efficient, affordable and integrated health care for all North Carolinians.  

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