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NC lawmakers face annual challenge: What to do about Medicaid?

Medicaid, the $14 billion state and federal health insurance program, will be at the center of more maneuvering and conflict this session.

Gov. Pat McCrory is taking steps to revamp the insurance program for low-income children, some of their parents, the elderly and the disabled. McCrory in the past has said he is open to expanding Medicaid under the federal health insurance law to an estimated 360,000 to 500,000 low-income adults. During a visit to Washington, D.C., this month, McCrory said he talked to President Barack Obama about waiving federal rules on expansion.

Expanding Medicaid is optional for states and many Republican-run states chose not to do it. But in recent years, some Republican governors have negotiated with the federal government to craft their own versions of expansion.

Getting expansion through the legislature could be a challenge, since Senate leader Phil Berger doesn’t support it and presumptive House Speaker Tim Moore doesn’t think it’s a good idea.

The legislature will have other issues to sort out, including how to control costs. A major conflict lingering from last year is whether commercial Medicaid managed-care companies should operate in the state.

Staff writer Lynn Bonner

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