FACT CHECK: Flimsy Medicaid Excuses Revealed

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RALEIGH—While Gov. McCrory and leadership in the NC General Assembly continue to refuse Medicaid Expansion, they do so using tired old arguments that amount to little more than excuses. Progress NC dissects them one by one.

“Medicaid is Broken” – FALSE

This is the excuse favored by Gov. Pat McCrory because it fits his desire to privatize Medicaid, but the excuse is built on a wobbly leg. At the center of argument is a state audit McCrory touted to prove his point that North Carolina’s Medicaid program was inefficient and needed to be reformed.

But a recent report by North Carolina Health News revealed that McCrory Administration officials in the Department of Health and Human Services doctored the agency’s report to delete evidence that challenged McCrory’s preferred assessment. The report found that overheard costs in North Carolina’s Medicaid program are actual lower than other states with privatized systems.

“Medicaid is Overbudget” – FALSE

Gov. McCrory and legislative leaders also like to say that Medicaid is over budget. While that may be technically true, it is only accurate because the last state budget (approved by the same legislative majority over a governor’s veto) failed to appropriate enough money for Medicaid. The previous administration at DHHS warned legislators that their Medicaid estimates were unrealistic and that assessment came true.

So essentially, legislative leaders complain about a problem of their own creation.

“We Can’t Trust the Federal Government” – FALSE

Aside from the fact that current leadership relies on federal funding for a number of state programs including education, the argument that the federal government may not keep its end of the bargain holds no weight. The federal government will pay for 100% of Medicaid Expansion for the first three years and 90% after that.

But, most importantly, states are not bound to Medicaid Expansion forever. They can withdraw at any time. So if the federal government were to renege, the state wouldn’t be left holding the bag.

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