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United States Congressman Don Davis lauded the North Carolina House Health Committee for passing House Bill 76 — proposed legislation that would expand Medicaid for nearly 100,000 people across eastern North Carolina — and, the congressman said, provide much needed funds for rural hospitals.

The bill is expected to reach the North Carolina legislative floor Wednesday, state Representative Michael Wray’s office confirmed today. Wray signed on as a sponsor of the bill last week.

“I applaud the North Carolina House Health Committee for passing House Bill 76, legislation that would expand Medicaid in the state because life-saving health care for those who fall into the Medicaid coverage gap and jobs in eastern North Carolina is essential,” said Davis. “One of my first official acts in Congress was to introduce H.Res.122, a resolution expressing congressional support for Medicaid expansion, as well as relaunching the State Medicaid Expansion Caucus to express the urgency of getting this done.”

Davis said residents across eastern North Carolina have expressed their strong desire for statewide expansion. “The action by the North Carolina House is a step in the right direction, and we should continue to work for strong bipartisan support in its implementation. Time is of the essence, and this is my top priority.”

 Key provisions of House Bill 76:

Provides low-income North Carolinians who earn less than 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level with greater access to health care options.

Utilizes federal Healthcare Access and Stabilization Program funds to help reenergize rural hospitals.  

Takes effect if the General Assembly agrees on a budget and the federal government provides a consistent 90 percent federal matching rate.

Americans in the Medicaid coverage gap are non-elderly, low-income adults who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford private health insurance.  Thirty-nine states, most recently Louisiana, South Dakota, and Missouri, have expanded Medicaid on a largely bipartisan basis, Davis said.