RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina legislators are moving quickly to block the state from expanding the government health insurance plan for the poor to cover about 650,000 uninsured residents.
A Senate panel Thursday quickly approved legislation ruling out expanding Medicaid coverage. The measure set for a Senate vote next week also would leave it to the federal government to build the state's online marketplace for private health insurance.
Republicans opposed to Medicaid expansion say Washington could back out of its promise to pay all expansion costs for three years and 90 percent thereafter. North Carolina's Medicaid plan last year ran a $265 million shortfall that was made up by taxpayers.
Democrats favoring Medicaid expansion say losing the money means more trouble for hospitals struggling with unpaid bills left by poor people's treatment.