If you ask one side, it’s a moral issue.
If you ask the other, it’s fiscal.
In reality, it might be both. The Affordable Care Act asks – but doesn’t demand – that states expand their Medicaid programs to cover, in the case of North Carolina, a half million more people. Medicaid is the joint program between the states and federal government that provides healthcare for women, children and the poor. The program already covers one in nine North Carolinians and pays for more than half the births in the state.
Every governor since Jim Hunt has said that Medicaid is increasingly dominating the budget – crowding out other spending. The state spends billions of dollars on it and, just this year, had to add a half billion more, just to pay for cost overruns.
So why does one side of the debate say expanding it will save the state money? Answers, in this edition of the Buckley Report.