RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The Republican leaders of the General Assembly confirmed this week there will be no more votes this year, meaning any compromise deal on Medicaid expansion will wait until next year. 

After years of opposing the move, key Republicans came out in support of expanding Medicaid coverage to about 600,000 low-income people earlier this year but have disagreed about various other reforms related to healthcare access. 

“We’re close on some things. Other things we’re not. Probably coming in next year with a more comprehensive discussion will be helpful,” said House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) the day after the election. 

Based on unofficial returns, Republicans appear to have gained a veto-proof supermajority in the state Senate but fell one seat short of that in the state House of Representatives. 

While Speaker Moore backed the idea of bringing lawmakers back in December to take a final vote, he and Senate leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said this week there is no final agreement and no plan to take votes on any bills until after lawmakers are sworn in early next year. 

“I don’t want to interfere with Christmas too much. Do you?” Moore asked Sen. Berger during a joint press conference.  

“I think I’m gonna go tell Santa Claus what my wishes are for Christmas rather than spending time with my friend, Tim Moore,” Berger replied.

Expanding Medicaid has been a key priority of Gov. Roy Cooper (D) and legislative Democrats who have argued the state is losing money by not taking this step. 

Cooper said further delay is “astonishingly wasteful, irresponsible and cruel.”  

The governor pointed out that this week voters in South Dakota, a red state, voted in favor of Medicaid expansion. North Carolina and South Dakota are among 12 states that have not approved it since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling left it up to states to make that determination under the Affordable Care Act. 

“Every month we wait to expand Medicaid is $521 million that could be flowing into North Carolina for health insurance and health coverage for people at no cost to the state taxpayer,” NC Health and Human Services Sec. Kody Kinsley told CBS 17 this week. “But, gosh, I don’t want to wait any longer. We’ve got to get this done. It’s so important for the health and well-being of North Carolina.” 

The bill the Senate passed this year by a 44-2 margin also included various other provisions, including reforming laws dealing with hospital competition. The North Carolina Healthcare Association, which represents the state’s hospitals, has raised concerns about the financial impact of that while urging lawmakers to approve Medicaid expansion.  

“I know that it’s something that will be on the list of things that we’ll be discussing next year. I continue to support expansion in the context of some of the other market reforms that were in the Senate bill,” Sen. Berger said.