Medicaid runs $1.4B over budget in North Carolina

North Carolina's Medicaid program is out of control financially, overspending its budget by more than $1.4 billion over the past three years, reported the Charlotte Observer.

Altogether, the Tar Heel State has enrolled about 1.5 million residents through Medicaid, and spends about 15 percent of its total General Fund Appropriation on the program, according to a report from the Office of the State Auditor.

Compared to nine other states with similar-sized Medicaid programs, North Carolina spends on average 38 percent more--or $180 million more a year, said state Auditor Beth Wood.

In one instance, the state's Medicaid office withheld $131 million that was owed the federal government, even after the Office of Management and Budget told the office not to retain the federal funds, according to the audit report.

Some policy officials fear the audit is being used to justify not expanding Medicaid coverage as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to the Observer

Only a couple days after the report was released, the state Senate on Monday voted to block the expansion of Medicaid and the establishment of a health insurance exchange, reported the Associated Press.

To learn more:
- check out the auditor report (.pdf)
- read the Charlotte Observer article
- here's the Associated Press article