N.C. Department of Health and Human Services will have to delay the expansion of Medicaid. Secretary Kody Kinsley says this delay comes because the General Assembly has not yet passed a budget.

When state lawmakers expanded Medicaid this year, they tied it to passing a budget. That hasn't happened yet, so Kinsley said he has to delay Medicaid expansion beyond the initial planned date of October 1.

This story was reported and written by WUNC

"This is a tragic loss of health insurance for nearly 300,000 people that would have coverage on day 1, delaying something that we know they and their families need so badly," Kinsley told reporters during a Monday afternoon press conference.

The state budget runs on a fiscal year of July 1 to June 30, so the budget is already almost two months behind schedule. Lawmakers haves said they expect to have a budget by mid-September, but that would not have left enough time for DHHS to finish everything it needs to do before launching the expanded Medicaid program, said Kinsley.

Kinsley said the General Assembly could also have de-coupled Medicaid expansion from the state budget, but that also has not happened.

DHHS estimates show that 80% of the people who will benefit from Medicaid expansion come from working families.

"Many of these individuals are working two or more jobs," said Kinsley. "A lot of them are working in the child care industry, which we know is so critical for the health and development of children. And for their parents to work as well. This is an investment that is long overdue for the people of North Carolina and we're eager to get it done."