The Obama administration is touting a new argument for why states like North Carolina should expand Medicaid. Federal researchers found in states that already have, the premiums people pay on the Obamacare exchanges are lower.

The Affordable Care Act was designed to cover the poorest people through Medicaid expansion, but the U.S. Supreme Court made that optional for states. North Carolina is among about 20 that chose not to. The new report shows that on the exchanges in those states, premiums are about 7 percent higher.

“What this study shows is that Medicaid expansion works to keep prices down for middle-income people who buy coverage on,” says Ben Wakana, press secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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