RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) — Governor Roy Cooper signed House Bill 76, Access to Healthcare Options, into law on Monday.

The bill expands Medicaid, which is expected to provide health coverage to over 600,000 people across North Carolina and bring billions in federal dollars to the state.

“Medicaid expansion is a once-in-a-generation investment that will strengthen our mental health system, boost our rural hospitals, support working families and so much more,” Governor Cooper said. “This is a historic step toward a healthier North Carolina that will bring people the opportunity of better health and a better life.”  

Veterans, early childhood educators, restaurant workers and nursing home workers are all among the groups that often fall into the healthcare coverage gap.

Cooper’s First in Opportunity budget proposes using a portion of the almost $1.8 billion Medicaid expansion signing bonus to create the Improving Health Outcomes for People Everywhere Fund.

The plan focuses on three areas:

  • making mental health services more available
  • building strong systems to support people in crisis and people with complex behavioral needs
  • enabling better health access and outcomes with data and technology

Medicaid expansion will take effect upon the signing into law of the FY 2023-25 appropriations act.