Hudson, NC Republicans in Congress join fight against Medicaid expansion

Published 3:27 pm Monday, January 9, 2017

By Josh Bergeron

SALISBURY — A group of nine congressional representatives from North Carolina, all Republicans, on Monday joined the opposition to Gov. Roy Cooper’s plans to expand Medicaid in the state.

Led by Rep. Richard Hudson, R-8, the group wrote a letter to the administrator of the Centers for Medicaid and Medicaid Services. The letter argues that an expansion, as requested by Cooper, would violate multiple North Carolina laws and the state constitution.

“In his first days in office, Gov. Cooper is misleading North Carolinians and threatening to overstep the clear bounds of our state’s constitution,” Hudson said in an emailed statement. “Gov. Cooper doesn’t have the authority to unilaterally make these changes – plain and simple. I’m proud to lead a letter to stop this unlawful proposal and save North Carolinians’ hard-earned tax dollars.”

Hudson was joined by Reps. George Holding, who represents the 2nd District; Virginia Foxx of the 5th District; Mark Walker , 6th District; David Rouzer, 7th District; Robert Pittenger, 9th District; Patrick McHenry, 10th District; Mark Meadows, 11th District; and Ted Budd, 13th District.

“No governor of North Carolina has the legal authority to submit a Medicaid expansion plan to (the Centers for Medicaid and Medicaid Services),” the letter states.

Click on the above image to view the full letter.

Click on the above image to view the full letter.

The letter comes just three days after Cooper on Friday notified the federal government of his intent to seek a Medicaid expansion. In a news release, Cooper called expansion “North Carolina common sense,” cited money the state would receive for services currently provided for free and noted that jobs could be created. More than 500,000 North Carolinians could receive coverage beginning in 2018 if certain conditions are met.

Cooper also said that a 2013 state law cited in the congressional letter does not apply to his plan to expand Medicaid.

In an emailed statement Monday, the governor’s office again noted the potential benefits to the economy with a Medicaid expansion.

“It’s the governor’s job to look out for North Carolina, and Gov. Cooper believes expanding Medicaid will help grow jobs and our economy,” said the governor’s spokeswoman, Noelle Talley. “We fully expect input and cooperation from the legislature in this process and intend to comply with our state’s laws and the constitution.”

Specific arguments made in the congressional letter include that “the General Assembly shall determine eligibility categories and income thresholds for  Medicaid and NC Health Choice programs” and that “the General Assembly has sole authority for all matters dealing with taxation and appropriation of funds.”

The arguments in the new letter are identical to ones made in a letter sent last week by leaders of the General Assembly.

“Such actions would commit the state to approximately $600 million in new spending each year. It is unfortunate that one of Mr. Cooper’s first actions as governor is to directly go against the same state law and constitution he swore to uphold,” the congressional letter says.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.