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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Republican legislators say raising the fee North Carolina health officials charge to test newborns for additional genetic disorders is outweighed by the health benefits of early diagnosis and lower overall health care costs.

Budget-writers held a news conference Wednesday to discuss an item in this week’s budget adjustments that would increase the state’s newborn screening fee from $44 to $128

Federal health regulators have added three disorders to the recommended screening list. Increased revenues will help pay for staff, equipment and supplies at the state public health lab to perform the tests.

Rep. Nelson Dollar of Cary says Medicaid will pay for expanded screening tests for covered families. Legislators say many health plans are required to cover the entire costs of a screening.