20,000 More North Dakotans May Access Healthcare Coverage - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

20,000 More North Dakotans May Access Healthcare Coverage

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North Dakota's Senate voted Tuesday to expand Medicaid to cover more uninsured residents of the state. The Republican-led chamber approved the bill 33-14. The House approved the measure 57-36 in February.

The measure now goes to Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple, who hasn't said anything to indicate he would veto the measure. If signed into law, more than 20,000 people would be added to Medicaid.

Under the new Affordable Care Act, the federal government would cover the full cost of expanding Medicaid through 2016, with the state's contribution rising in stages to 10 percent.

Several Republican lawmakers in both chambers testified that they don't like the new federal law championed by President Barack Obama. But they say it's in the best interest of the state to accept it.

Background on Medicaid Expansion:

Sections 1,2,4 and 5 of HB 1362 expands access to Medicaid for those making less than 138% of the poverty level. Under the federal health care reform law, federal funds would initially cover 100% of the cost of expansion with the federal match dropping to 90% by 2017. Section 3 of the bill provides for a study.

Medicaid expansion was supported by a broad coalition, including the Greater North Dakota Chamber, North Dakota Farmers Union, AARP North Dakota, the North Dakota Catholic Conference, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, the North Dakota Hospital Association, the North Dakota Medical Association, and the House and Senate Democratic-NPL caucuses unanimously.

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