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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Gov. Pat McCrory says new federal regulations could force North Carolina to expand Medicaid eligibility to more low-income people under the Affordable Care Act, despite being one of 26 Republican-led states to reject doing so.

McCrory spoke Monday at The Heritage Foundation, a Conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C. He said the change could result in higher costs.

McCrory spokesman Ryan Tronovitch says the governor is referring to a regulation expanding the ability of hospitals to presumptively conclude some patients not already enrolled for federal assistance are likely to qualify, such as former foster care children and low-income women with breast or cervical cancer.

Hospitals can then bill the government for the care of those patients for up to two months until a final determination is made.

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