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State Representative Michael Wray has signed on as a primary sponsor for the latest Medicaid expansion bill introduced into the North Carolina General Assembly on Wednesday.

House Bill 76 is entitled Access to Healthcare Options and includes the expansion of Medicaid Healthcare Insurance to thousands of working poor residents across the state.  

The bill calls for participation in the Health Access and Stabilization Program, a federal program to assist providers with enhanced reimbursement rates for treating Medicaid patients.  

(A PDF of the bill can be downloaded at this link)

The HASP program will bring in an additional $1.8 billion in payments to North Carolina hospitals and doctors.

House Bill 76 will also include a workforce development component requiring Medicaid patients to interact with a workforce counselor to assist them with career planning and workforce training options so they can be prepared to enter the workforce and be productive, successful workers.

“Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, I have been an advocate and supporter for Medicaid expansion,” said Wray, a Democrat who represents Halifax, Northampton and Warren counties in his District 27 seat. “I am proud to continue that work and feel confident we will be successful in passing this legislation late next week.” 

Wray said, “Our patients in Halifax, Warren and Northampton counties need more access to doctors and hospitals. Our providers need to know that they are going to be fairly compensated for patient care and services.”

Wray said the “legislation is critical to the future of our healthcare delivery system not only in my district but for the entire state. This legislation is a compromise bill working with our healthcare providers, and patient advocates.”

He called the bill a major first step to expand Medicaid for the working poor. “It will mean we can provide healthcare coverage to people who otherwise would not qualify for Medicaid and can’t afford healthcare insurance in the private marketplace.” 

As the primary sponsor of the bill, Wray said, “My main goal is to help our low income residents get access to healthcare coverage and to strengthen our healthcare providers in my district and across the state. This bill is a big deal and takes major steps to accomplishing those goals.”