Wednesday News: 500,000 good reasons


GOVERNOR COOPER WANTS MEDICAID EXPANSION IN THE BUDGET: Cooper’s staff was clear that Medicaid expansion needs to be part of the discussions and has invited legislative leaders to the Executive Mansion on Wednesday to continue negotiations. Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown, who signed the letter to Cooper along with Sen. Kathy Harrington and Sen. Brent Jackson, spoke with reporters on Tuesday about the letter and budget negotiations. “If [Cooper’s] willing to not just have a show, but really sit down and negotiate, we’d love to sit down with him,” Brown said Tuesday. Brown said that Medicaid has problems and expansion “just doesn’t make sense to a lot of us.” The revised budget is expected to come out within a week, but it would face a possible veto if it doesn’t satisfy Cooper — and it would then need the support of supermajorities in the House and Senate to become law.

FOLWELL'S FOLLY: NO HOSPITALS HAVE SIGNED ON TO HIS BILLING PLAN: With less than two weeks to go before the deadline, only a fraction of health care providers around the state have signed new contracts with the State Health Plan for government employees and teachers. No hospital is among them. Hundreds of millions of dollars and medical care for more than half a million people are at stake in what amounts to a game of chicken over a cut in how much the largest health insurance plan in North Carolina pays for care. If the sides can't strike a deal, every hospital in the state and an untold number of doctors will be out-of-network for state employees, teachers and retirees on the plan, boosting their out-of-pocket costs and causing confusion. The fight is one of the most intense in state politics, and it's moving parallel to the debate over Medicaid expansion, which would pull down billions in federal money for the state's medical industry, and a fight over control and money at Vidant Health's flagship hospital in Greenville.

SHERIFFS FROM 3 LARGE NC COUNTIES SPEAK OUT AGAINST ICE BILL: Some North Carolina sheriffs who've refused to hold people who would otherwise be released from jail if federal agents say they might be in the country unlawfully are still opposed to updated legislation aiming to address the issue. Sheriffs from Mecklenburg, Wake and Buncombe counties plan to speak at a Legislative Building news conference on Wednesday before a Senate committee debates and votes on the bill. These recently elected sheriffs announced they wouldn't comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers for people charged with state crimes, saying it's not in the best interest of community safety and may be unconstitutional. House legislation forcing sheriffs to fulfill those requests was changed in the Senate, to require orders from judges or magistrates. These sheriffs remain opposed to other aspects of the bill.

TRUMP'S OFFICIAL CAMPAIGN LAUNCH IS CLASSIC TRUMP, INSULTS AND FEAR-MONGERING: Jabbing at the press and poking the eye of the political establishment he ran against in 2016, President Donald Trump officially kicked off his reelection campaign Tuesday with a grievance-filled Florida rally that focused more on settling scores than laying out his agenda for a second term. Addressing a crowd of thousands at Orlando’s Amway Center, Trump complained he had been “under assault from the very first day” of his presidency by a “fake news media” and “illegal witch hunt” that had tried to keep him and his supporters down. And he painted a disturbing picture of what life would look like if he loses in 2020, accusing his critics of “un-American conduct” and telling the crowd that Democrats “want to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it.” “A vote for any Democrat in 2020 is a vote for the rise of radical socialism and the destruction of the American dream,” he said, ripping “radical” and “unhinged” Democrats even as he made only passing mention of any of the men and women running to replace him.

SHANAHAN WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED FOR SEC DEF AFTER FAMILY VIOLENCE COMES TO LIGHT: In the months that he has served as President Trump’s acting secretary of defense, Patrick Shanahan has worked to keep domestic violence incidents within his family private. His wife was arrested after punching him in the face, and his son was arrested after a separate incident in which he hit his mother with a baseball bat. Public disclosure of the nearly decade-old episodes would re-traumatize his young adult children, Shanahan said. On Tuesday, Trump announced in a tweet that Shanahan would not be going through with the nomination process — which had been delayed by an unusually lengthy FBI background check — “so that he can devote more time to his family.” In November 2011, Shanahan rushed to defend his then-17-year-old son, William Shanahan, in the days after the teenager brutally beat his mother. The attack had left Patrick Shanahan’s ex-wife unconscious in a pool of blood, her skull fractured and with internal injuries that required surgery, according to court and police records.