Under the Dome

Cooper calls on McCrory to expand Medicaid

UPDATED

N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper on Monday called on Gov. Pat McCrory to expand Medicaid health insurance for the poor, elderly and disabled in North Carolina, saying the governor was playing “political games.”

Cooper, who is running for the Democratic nomination to oppose McCrory next year, emailed supporters asking them to sign a petition telling the governor to expand coverage now.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that millions of people could keep the federal subsidies that help them pay for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. McCrory earlier expressed an interest in expanding Medicaid coverage under the act, but said it didn’t make sense to advance a plan until the Supreme Court ruled.

The General Assembly would have to approve any expansion, and so far Republican leaders oppose it.

After the ruling, McCrory told reporters it needs more study.

“My answer is dependent upon what I think would be best for North Carolina,” he said. “I don’t want a Washington plan for Medicaid, I want a North Carolina plan. It’s a very complex issue. You can’t just say are you for or against it.”

Cooper used that opening to stake out his position.

“Well, I know where I stand — I know that expanding Medicaid will create jobs and save lives, and that's why I'm calling on Governor McCrory to support Medicaid expansion now,” Cooper said in the email. “Hundreds of thousands of uninsured North Carolinians shouldn't have to wait for the next governor to take action.”

Update: N.C. GOP Executive Director Todd Poole responded that it was Cooper who was playing politics.

“While he is busy fundraising off of his ardent support for Obamacare and attacking Governor McCrory, North Carolinians found out that Obamacare premiums are expected to rise 34 percent on average,” Poole said in a statement.

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