At the 42nd annual Mental Health Legislative Breakfast, North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen described how North Carolina’s failure to expand Medicaid was hurting the mental health community, North Carolina Health News reported.

“Thirty-seven other states have said yes to Medicaid expansion and yet North Carolina continues not to be able to find a way to yes,” Cohen said. “That’s just not acceptable to me.”

Cohen pointed to Medicaid expansion in Ohio, under Republican Governor John Kasich, citing their success in lowering opioid overdose deaths; relative to North Carolina, their rates have dropped faster.

Governor Cooper has advocated for Medicaid expansion, citing its ability to lower opioid-related deaths in other states and the hundreds of thousands poised to gain coverage. Republican leadership in the General Assembly have stood resolute against Medicaid expansion, including Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Forest.

Read more about the remarks presented here.