Governance/Health Care Policy
Republican leaders in the NC General Assembly now say that they expect to continue budget negotiations beyond September 1, later than they previously anticipated, with over 100 items left to address. With Medicaid expansion tied to the passage of the budget, the delay jeopardizes the planned October 1 launch of Medicaid expansion, potentially leaving many North Carolinians without health coverage until December and costing the state up to $60 million in federal funding. The NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) announced new plans that would “de-couple” Medicaid expansion from passage of the budget, but this would also be subject to legislative approval.
On Sunday the NC State Board of Elections voted 4-1 to recognize the No Labels Party as an official party in the state. The board’s approval means voters in North Carolina will be able to register as members of the No Labels Party and that the party will be able to place candidates on statewide ballots. No Labels had petitioned for official party status in the state earlier this year, and over 14,000 registered voters in North Carolina submitted signatures backing the petition (13,865 are required).
In a settlement with three animal welfare organizations represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to protect the endangered red wolf population in Eastern North Carolina. The agreement includes a plan to continue coyote sterilization to preserve the red wolf’s genetic line and continued work to breed red wolves in captivity for release. While a breeding program had successfully brought red wolves back from extinction from the late 1980s through the early 2000s, the population declined again to critical numbers after USFWS began dismantling the program in 2015.