N. Dakota House approves Medicaid expansion bill

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 27, 2013 at 7:42 pm •  Published: February 27, 2013
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North Dakota's Medicaid program now covers about 65,000 people a month. If the state expands eligibility, an additional 20,000 people — mostly adults without children — would be added to the program.

Rep. Robin Weisz, R-Hurdsfield and chairman of the Human Services House Human Services Committee, said he likes little about the federal legislation but doing nothing would "increase costs to businesses, increase costs to medical providers and do nothing to help with bad debt and charity care."

North Dakota hospitals tallied $225 million last year in charity care and uncollected bad debt and some of that money could be recouped by expanding Medicaid, said Todd Porter, R-Mandan.

Chet Pollert, R-Carrington, said approving the measure was "probably the right thing to do" but he opposed it for his constituents "back home."

Weisz said he was approving it for the same reason.

"As much as I don't like it, it is for the people back home," he said.

Scott Louser, R-Minot, said the federal health care overhaul put the state in a tough position.

"We're forced to play the role of Charlie Brown and Lucy is holding the football," he said.

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