Despite last-minute objections from Gov. Pat McCrory, the Republican-led state Senate pushed through legislation Monday evening that will prevent nearly 650,000 residents from getting health insurance and block the state from establishing a health care exchange.
The GOP supermajority used the 31-17 vote to send a message to the federal government that it wants no part of the health care law signed by President Barack Obama, even as other states led by Republicans are accepting the money.
Republican Sen. Tom Apodaca, the bill’s lead sponsor, said the measure tells Washington, “if you want to do it, do it the way you want to do it and leave us out of the equation.”
Hours before the vote, McCrory’s administration expressed caution about moving too swiftly, given the unknown financial ramifications. The Republican governor is worried that the legislation may threaten money for the current system that tracks the state’s Medicaid patients, according to a letter his administration sent to Senate leaders.
“We believe additional time is necessary to evaluate the serious financial ramifications of Senate Bill 4 to North Carolina taxpayers,” wrote Fred Steen, the governor’s chief lobbyist.
The letter put Democrats in the unusual position of echoing the governor’s words, advocating to delay the first major legislation considered by the Senate, which came on the third day of its term.