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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

North Carolinians gain greater access to health care with Medicaid expansion

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Tuesday, November 28, 2023   

Starting Friday, North Carolinians will have greater access to health care as the long-awaited Medicaid expansion is launched.

Medicaid will provide coverage to individuals ages 19 to 64 with higher incomes, allowing eligibility for those earning up to 138% of the federal poverty rate.

Kody Kinsley, North Carolina's Secretary of Health and Human Services, said this expansion will bring essential care to thousands, improving their health and overall well-being.

"That's 600,000 people who will be able to have their medications covered by insurance and that's 600,000 people who -- when they face an emergency event and they have to go to the hospital -- will have the peace of mind to know that they're not going to get stuck with a medical bill that they can't afford," Kinsley said.

In addition to the increased income threshold, the Family Planning Medicaid program will offer reproductive health care at no cost to people with incomes up to 195% of the Federal Poverty Level. This means even a single person earning up to $2,400 per month will have access to essential care.

Kinsley added individuals already receiving family planning benefits and meeting the requirements for full Medicaid will be automatically enrolled on Friday. They should expect to receive notification via mail. He said this expansion not only ensures health care for many throughout the state but also supports hospitals and empowers working families to thrive in the workforce.

"Medicaid expansion helps working families; 80% of the individuals that will benefit from expansion are in working families. It will increase access to mental-health and substance-use treatment and will help build a healthier workforce," he explained.

To support the expansion's non-federal share cost, more than 100 hospitals will also receive about $3 billion through the Healthcare Access and Stabilization Program. North Carolina is now the 40th state to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.


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