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Coronavirus news and updates about the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

North Carolina Requests Medicaid Waiver For Flexibility During Coronavirus Pandemic

Mandy Cohen
NC Department of Public Safety
DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, shown here in an April 24 news conference, has asked for help with North Carolina's Medicaid program.

North Carolina’s top health official is asking the federal government to approve a waiver to help the state’s Medicaid program during the coronavirus pandemic.

States can use the so-called Section 1115 waiver to use Medicaid funds in ways the federal government wouldn’t normally allow. North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said Tuesday the waiver she submitted to Secretary Alex Azar, her federal counterpart, would give the state needed flexibility during the pandemic.

"To cover prevention, testing, and treatment related to COVID-19," Cohen said. "And for the flexibility to create our own provider relief fund, to further assist providers in weathering the COVID-19 storm."

Cohen said it would make better financial sense for North Carolina to approve Medicaid expansion, which has been a sticking point between the governor and Republican legislators since last summer.

Cohen has also sent a letter asking for $50 billion in forthcoming stimulus money to be allocated specifically to health care providers who treat the majority of the state’s more than 3 million Medicaid and uninsured patients.

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