The N.C. General Assembly has yet to pass the budget for the next two fiscal years, which began nearly two months ago on July 1.
Discussions between House and Senate leaders led to this stalemate, as they worked to reconcile disagreements on funding Medicaid expansion, state employee salaries, infrastructure and other issues.
“It's frustrating as a legislator, because I do believe that deadlines should have meaning, and a lot of states have already finished a budget,” N.C. Rep. Donny Lambeth (R-Forsyth), senior chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said. “North Carolina is still trying to cross the finish line.”
According to data provided by the N.C. Office of State Budget and Management, the General Assembly has passed seven annual budgets after the July 1 deadline since 2011.
Medicaid expansion, which was approved by Gov. Roy Cooper in March, was originally planned to take effect on July 1 after the approval of the budget for the current fiscal year.
According to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, Medicaid expansion in North Carolina will grant eligibility to those making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $20,000 per year for a single individual. The federal poverty level varies based on the number and ages of people in a household.
“The longer you have this process waiting to happen, you might actually lose some people in the process,” Anca Grozav, the chief deputy budget director of the OSBM, said. “They might fall through the cracks and not realize that, ‘Hey, I'm eligible for for Medicaid expansion, I need to get back on.’”
Due to the budget stalemate, thousands of residents were disenrolled from Medicaid on June 30 without an insurance plan to transition onto.