At a White House meeting with President Barack Obama Tuesday, Gov. Pat McCrory raised the possibility of waiving federal rules on Medicaid expansion for North Carolina.
McCrory met the president along with three other members of the National Governors Association’s Executive Committee.
The governor has said he’s open to the possibility of expanding Medicaid to 500,000 uninsured North Carolinians. Republican legislators have balked, citing the cost.
In the 28 states that have expanded the program, the federal government is paying the costs for three years. Its share later drops to 90 percent.
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McCrory said he asked the president about a waiver that could allow the state to require a job or job training as a condition of eligibility. He said the president “said he would be open to certain waivers that I’m looking at to potentially present to my legislature.”
“We did not get assurances, but I thought we got a pretty good response about what the governor of Utah and I are thinking along the same lines,” McCrory said after his meeting. “We want to encourage people to continue to explore job opportunities and training opportunities to get the people jobs and to become independent of government, not become dependent on government.…
“My main messages was, we want a North Carolina plan, not a Washington plan.”
At least four states have won waivers from federal rules involving Medicaid expansion. But federal officials have rejected a request like the one McCrory could seek, said Robin Rudowitz, associate director of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.
She said officials rejected Pennsylvania’s request to link Medicaid eligibility to jobs, though they did approve linking it to job training or referral.
McCrory said Obama “clearly understands the argument.”
“(He) left the door open for it to be reconsidered,” he said. “So that was progress.”
The governors also talked about other issues with the president.
• Transportation. McCrory said the governors told Obama they need transportation infrastructure.
“We’ve made a commitment to work with the president and the secretary of transportation to try to develop new plans that we can present to Congress so we do not let our infrastructure, especially transportation infrastructure, falter,” McCrory said.
• Energy. McCrory said he thanked the president for the administration’s support of seismic testing off the North Carolina coast.
“Of course, as I have stated in the past, we are going to want to have some shared revenue if there are resources of that, and we will be working with the president and Congress on that hopefully in the near future.”