Representative Ray Russell has co-sponsored his first legislative bill.

The Watauga Democrat reports, that if enacted, House Bill 5 would close the Medicaid coverage gap by providing healthcare to 500,000 uninsured North Carolinians.

According to the report, that would include more than 3,300 High Country residents.

The bill would also give a financial boost to rural hospitals, including Watauga Medical Center and Ashe Memorial Hospital.