Presence or absence of Medicaid expansion shade budget talks

North Carolina

Medicaid expansion is an early point of contention in final budget negotiations in North Carolina, even though neither proposal approved by House and Senate Republicans contain it.

That’s because Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper insists that adding hundreds of thousands of people to the state’s Medicaid rolls must be part of the budget talks. Cooper’s office said that’s what was relayed by the governor’s staff on Tuesday to staff representing legislators.

Senate Republicans translated that to an ultimatum from Cooper that negotiations are over unless the budget expands Medicaid. Cooper spokesman Ford Porter said there was no ultimatum, and that Cooper invited legislative leaders to the Executive Mansion Wednesday for face-to-face talks.

Cooper has more leverage this year in negotiations because his veto can be upheld if Democratic legislators stay united.

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