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Medicaid expansion begins in North Carolina on Dec. 1

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper speaks with reporters after the Council of State meeting at the Department of Transportation headquarters in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023. Cooper said he's not convinced that details within a tax-cut agreement reached between Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore will protect the state from revenue shortfalls.
Gary D. Robertson
Associated Press
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper speaks with reporters in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023.

More than 600,000 people in North Carolina will gain access to healthcare coverage when Medicaid expansion begins in December.

Governor Roy Cooper announced on Monday that December 1st is the program's launch date.

Approval of Medicaid is tied to the state budget, which will become law within the next week after Cooper decided not to sign or veto the $30-billion spending plan.

Cooper's administration wanted to launch Medicaid expansion earlier, but federal government deadlines and approvals will mean two more months of waiting for the people becoming eligible.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kody Kinsley says about 300-thousand people can gain healthcare immediately in December because they're already in the state's system. The other half of the people eligible will need to apply.

“We've been working with partners and nonprofits across the state to prepare to make awareness to individuals so they can come forward and get ready," he said.

Medicaid expansion will also unlock more than a billion dollars of federal money, much of it for mental health.