GREENSBORO, N.C.--Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill Wednesday that blocks expanding Medicaid under the federal health care overhaul.
The measure approved by the NC House and Senate, seems to have triggered diverse reactions among many.
Brian Ellerby, the CEO of Triad Adult and Pediatric Medicine in Greensboro, says his facilities treated over 30,000 uninsured people last year. Ellerby says if Medicaid had been expanded, nearly 85 percent of those patients would have qualified for it.
"We are seeing the community's sickest, most economically challenged residents. This would have been the best thing for them," Ellerby said.
The federal government claimed it would cover 100 percent of the state's expansion costs through 2016, and at least 90 percent in the following years. However, Republican lawmakers predicted more and more of the cost would eventually be shifted to state.
Democratic lawmakers say the uninsured will end up in free clinics and emergency rooms in hospitals. They believe this will drive up healthcare cost for everyone else.
Dr. Greg Taylor of High Point Regional Hospital says emergency rooms could become a little more chaotic. Taylor says the hospital already sees thousands of uninsured people a year.
"It increases the pressure on us to be more efficient. We would have to keep the emergency room open beyond its normal hours, and it would increase volumes," Taylor said.
Lawmakers have the option of changing the bill at a later date, if necessary.