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Gov. Cooper signs NC Medicaid law amid applause and bi-partisan support



RALEIGH, N.C. Local Charlotte — Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law a bill Monday that will expand Medicaid coverage to hundreds of thousands of people in North Carolina.

Legislative leaders from both parties joined Gov. Cooper outside the Executive Mansion as he signed the bill into law late Monday afternoon.

The measure will expand Medicaid to more than half a million people who make too much to qualify for Medicaid now but not enough to afford health insurance.

A crowd broke into applause as Cooper signed the bill, but Medicaid expansion will not go into effect until the budget for the next fiscal year is signed into law.

The bill passed with bipartisan support — although for years many Republicans opposed the idea of Medicaid expansion. The Federal government will cover 90 percent of the cost of Medicaid recipients under expansion.

John Tramontin with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network has been fighting for expansion for 12 years. He says his advocacy is one way to honor his father who died of pancreatic cancer.

“I can be a voice for some of those 600,000 people across North Carolina who haven’t had health insurance, nor would they have the ability to stand in front of an elected official and tell their stories,” he said. “I hear their stories and pass them along to our elected officials, and thank goodness after 12 years worth of advocating here I sit and have the pleasure of watching this go into effect.”

Also present at the signing was Cassandra Brooks, who owns a childcare center. She says she pushed for Medicaid expansion in memory of two teachers.

“They were excellent early childhood teachers who didn’t have health insurance and passed away due to preventable health conditions,” she said, her voice breaking it with emotion.

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