Todd Bookman

Reporter

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.

Ways to Connect

Rosie O'Beirn via Flickr CC

Governor Hassan is creating a task force to study ways to improve the state’s workers’ compensation system.

The move comes on the heels of a new report that finds worker compensation costs in New Hampshire are well above regional and national averages.

Governor Hassan is requesting a federal disaster declaration following mid-April flooding in Carroll and Coos Counties.

NHPR Staff

  The Executive Director of the New Hampshire Republican Party answered questions in New Jersey on Tuesday regarding his role in the George Washington Bridge scandal involving Governor Chris Christie.

Matt Mowers testified before a special committee investigating whether lane closures on the bridge last September were an act of political retribution after the mayor of Fort Lee Mark Sokolich, a Democrat, declined to endorse Christie.

Mowers was a Christie campaign staffer at the time. He denies any involvement.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

At his latest campaign stop, U.S. Senate hopeful Scott Brown aimed to win over female voters.

The former Massachusetts Senator rolled out his ‘Women for Brown’ leadership team at an event inside his Manchester headquarters. Maureen Mooney, a former New Hampshire State Representative, is one of three co-chairs. She argues Brown is listening to his constituents, and will be an independent voice in Washington.

“Now on the other hand, our current senator, Shaheen, how can she possibly win? She voted for Obamacare,” says Mooney.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

Politicians in New Hampshire have done plenty of arguing over the Affordable Care Act. Today, lawyers were given a turn.

A long-awaited hearing was held at the state Insurance Department. At issue is a complaint filed by an East Rochester woman over alleged harm suffered at the hands of Anthem’s limited network of hospitals.

Margaret McCarthy was a bookkeeper and office manager, but now, in her early 60s, she’s content volunteering as treasurer of her church.

Sara Plourde

 In the pitched political battle over the Affordable Care Act, Republicans and Democrats seem to have found common ground on one issue: Anthem’s so-called narrow network of providers.

From GOP Senate candidate Scott Brown to Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, a wide array of voices have complained that Anthem’s decision to exclude 10 hospitals from its plans sold through the new federal health exchange harms patients.

On Wednesday, one of those patients, an East Rochester woman named Margaret McCarthy, will get a long-awaited hearing on the matter at the state Insurance Department.

Nearly 90% of the people who signed up for health care through the Affordable Care Act in New Hampshire have paid their first month’s bill.

Anthem, the only insurance company in the exchange this year, says roughly 35,000 out of the 40,000 who enrolled through healthcare.gov are paid up.

That's a higher percent than estimates put out by Republican members of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee. Their report released April 30th stated that just 67% of enrollees nationally had paid their first month’s premium.

via RI.gov

New Englanders are a frugal bunch, so they may want to take note that when it comes to the Affordable Care Act, healthcare.gov was more efficient than the state-run exchanges.

A new report out from a former Obama Administration official finds that the cost-per-enrollee was lower in federally-run exchanges than in state-run exchanges.

To / NHPR

Investigators say a chemical reaction is to blame for a February 10th explosion at a factory in Peterborough that injured 22 people, including 2 critically.

In a letter to employees, New Hampshire Ball Bearing President Gary Yomantas says nitric acid transferred into a 55-gallon drum containing a mixture of chemical waste sparked the blast. 

Todd Bookman / NHPR

A recent ruling declaring a state tax on hospitals unconstitutional is leaving lawmakers scrambling for a fix. On Tuesday, three amendments were put forward, each offering a different path.

Representatives Cindy Rosenwald (D-Nashua) and Neal Kurk (R-Weare) are co-sponsoring a plan that changes technical language within the Medicaid Enhancement Tax and designates that none of the revenue be allocated to the state's general fund.

“We need to rethink the nature of the MET, the purpose and the partnership,” said Rosenwald.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

The men of Dartmouth were treated to a heroes’ welcome each fall.

“October, 1947, and the campus is rejuvenated after the slow, sleepy quiescence of the summer weeks,” reads the stoic narrator of an old film reel. “The college town of Hanover throbs excitedly with new life.”

Hanover has been throbbing year-round since the 1970s, though, when Dartmouth became the last Ivy League to accept women.

More than 40,000 New Hampshire residents enrolled in health plans through the Affordable Care Act, according to new figures out from the federal government.

Nearly half the sign-ups came during a March and April surge, erasing a poor showing in the early months when healthcare.gov was plagued by technical glitches.

Even supporters of the law reacted with surprise to the final tally for the open enrollment period.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

Republican gubernatorial candidate Andrew Hemingway laid out his own gaming proposal on the same day the New Hampshire House voted down a two casino plan.

Hemingway, a conservative activist from Bristol, opposes what he calls 'Las Vegas style campus casinos' like those considered in the bill voted on by lawmakers.

Instead, he says already functioning charitable gaming sites in New Hampshire should be able to add slot machines to their operations.

Via Flickr CC

After several stops and starts, the Insurance Department has agreed to a formal hearing on the adequacy of Anthem’s narrow network of hospitals.

The move stems from a complaint filed by East Rochester resident Margaret McCarthy. She says she’s been aggrieved by Anthem’s decision to exclude Frisbie Memorial Hospital from its network for plans sold through the Affordable Care Act.

The state is bumping up against an intended start date for Medicaid expansion sign-ups.

The bi-partisan plan agreed to earlier this year originally called for a two-month early enrollment period beginning May 1st with coverage starting in July, but the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services hasn’t yet signed off on the package.

Governor Hassan says her administration continues to work closely with federal regulators.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

Backers of a casino bill are making last ditch efforts before Wednesday’s scheduled vote in the New Hampshire House.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

The Insurance Department kicked off a series of public meetings on Wednesday looking into network adequacy standards, with a focus on health plans that exclude doctors and hospitals.

Anthem’s ‘narrow network’ plans—the only option available through so-called ObamaCare this year—left out 10 of New Hampshire’s 26 hospitals, forcing some consumers to switch doctors.

The Insurance Department found Anthem’s plans met the current standards for coverage, which take into account the distance patients must travel for care.

Governor Maggie Hassan is urging Senate lawmakers to increase the state’s minimum wage.

In a letter to the Senate Finance Committee, Governor Hassan writes that boosting the rate would accelerate the state’s economic growth.

“Restoring and increasing New Hampshire’s minimum wage will help our economy by putting more money in the pockets of hard-working people of all ages to spend at businesses across the state,” writes Hassan.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

You don’t drop everything to go get a colonoscopy.

But after a decade of waiting, 63-year old Richard Coll of Manchester knew he couldn’t keep putting it off.

“It’s something you got to do, you’re supposed to do," says Coll. "There’s a little history in my family, so I was encouraged to do it.”

But he doesn’t have insurance and the price tag—actually the lack of a price tag-—kept getting in the way.

“[I was] shopping around, and everyone I asked, whether it was the doctor or an institution like a hospital, they looked at me like I was crazy,” says Coll.

Flickr Creative Commons / Brave Sir Robin

Dartmouth College is receiving a $100 million anonymous donation, the largest single gift in school history.

"We are thrilled," says Dartmouth spokesman Justin Anderson. "And we're especially thrilled that it will be devoted entirely to strengthening Dartmouth's academic mission."

The gift will be added to school’s already sizeable $3.7 billion endowment. The interest earned will help fund an array of new initiatives, including the addition of 30 to 40 cross-discipline professorships.

The New Hampshire Insurance Department is disputing a report that claims a 90% spike in individual premiums under the Affordable Care Act. The report from Morgan Stanley, which has become the latest flashpoint in the political battle over Obamacare, was based on a national survey of insurance brokers.

The number of Medicaid enrollees in New Hampshire is up 4% since last October, according to new data from the federal government. More than 133,000 people were enrolled as of February, compared with roughly 127,000 recipients before the launch of the Affordable Care Act.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

The transition of New Hampshire's Medicaid program to what’s called ‘managed care’ was supposed to be phased in over three years.

First, private companies would take over administration of medical care for more than 100,000 recipients. In year two, services for people with developmental disabilities, including supports such as 24-hour aides and housing would switch over. And then, lastly, newly eligible recipients through Medicaid expansion would get benefits arranged through the managed care companies.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

Like many kids with autism, Hunter Picknell has trouble expressing himself.

“His primary form of communication is sign language, but there’s certain things he can’t do with his hands and fingers because of his motor-planning issues,” says Melissa Hilton, Hunter’s mother.

“He makes kind of his own sign language, which is very idiosyncratic. We often joke around and say it is sign language with an accent.”

konstantine1982 via Flickr CC

The New Hampshire Senate has approved a 4.2-cent hike in the state’s gas tax that would raise an estimated $32 million for roads projects.

The bill also eliminates a set of tolls in Merrimack.

New Hampshire’s gas tax has held steady at 18-cents per gallon since the early 1990s, losing ground to inflation and more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Senator Jim Rausch sponsored the plan, which originally envisioned indexing the tax to the inflation rate.

But the Republican from Derry scrapped that plan in favor of a scaled down measure.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

Time is running out for individuals looking to buy health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. The cut-off to start the sign-up process is March 31st, and unlike previous deadlines, it looks like this one may actually hold.

That’s got John Carland taking the process more seriously.

“I put things off,” says Carland. “I’m a procrastinator. So, I just put it off until I had to do it, I guess.”

Daniel S. Hurd via Flickr CC

The New Hampshire House has voted 202-132 to expand Medicaid to cover an estimated 50,000 low-income adults under the Affordable Care Act.  

The move comes after more than a year of debate, and while the vote in the Democratically-controlled chamber wasn’t a surprise, Republicans weren’t exactly ready to concede the point.

They put forward nine amendments on issues ranging from delaying the start date to capping enrollees, all of which failed.

It’s been a little more than 100 days since the state of New Hampshire dramatically re-shaped its biggest program. On December 1st, traditional Medicaid became Medicaid Managed Care, shifting administration of the health program into the hands of private companies in the hopes of saving $15 million a year.

Perhaps the biggest change to the program for recipients revolves around something called prior authorizations.

Massachusetts-based Minuteman Health says New Hampshire’s insurance marketplace is "ripe for disruption."

The plan to expand Medicaid endorsed by the state Senate has cleared its first hurdle in the New Hampshire House, gaining the approval of the Finance Committee on a 15-10 vote.

The Democratically-controlled House has already voted to expand Medicaid three times, and leaders there want to pass this version as soon as they can.

House Republicans, though, continue to put up a fight.

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