Todd Bookman

Health 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.

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Health
3:07 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Anthem Extends Renewal Date For Customers Who Want To Keep Plans

Anthem Blue Cross says it’s extending the renewal date for customers who buy individual policies. The state’s largest health insurance company informed brokers earlier this week that current policyholders who want to keep their plans will have until the end of the month to renew,  a two week extension from the original deadline of November 15.

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Health
6:39 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Parties Continue To Negotiate On Medicaid Expansion

House and Senate leaders continue to debate an expansion of the state’s Medicaid program to more low-income New Hampshire residents.

A key difference between the two sides is how quickly New Hampshire moves an estimated 35,000 individuals from Medicaid into the exchange to obtain private insurance.  

House leaders and the Governor say the GOP’s plan to shift people in 2015 won’t work. Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, are defending their proposal.

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Health
5:55 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Breaking Down A Big Day In Health News

A big day in the world of health policy, nationally and in New Hampshire. State regulators are still trying to gauge how to handle the President’s offer to let consumers keep canceled insurance plans. And in Concord, lawmakers continue to negotiate over Medicaid expansion, one week into a special session. NHPR’s Health Reporter Todd Bookman talks with All Things Considered Host Brady Carlson.

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Health
4:40 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Data Reveal Low Insurance Enrollment Figures In New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, 269 residents have selected health plans through the new marketplace, according to figures released Wednesday by the federal government. 

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Health
3:31 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

After Delay, Health Law Grant Awarded To Concord Firm

A Concord-based PR firm is getting $1.9 million to launch a statewide media campaign promoting the federal health law.

Louis Karno & Company says it will use the money to create a website with New Hampshire-specific information on the Affordable Care Act by December, and then begin a broader media push including television and radio ads meant to educate consumers.

The New Hampshire Health Plan awarded the federal funds. Executive Director Mike Degnan says information on this health law is greatly needed.

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Health
1:29 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

GOP Rejects Hassan's Compromise On Medicaid Expansion

Governor Maggie Hassan
Credit Chris Jensen, NHPR News

Governor Maggie Hassan and House Democrats are offering to adopt the Senate’s plan for Medicaid expansion provided they make certain changes, but GOP leadership says the proposal falls short of a compromise.

On Wednesday, Hassan and House Speaker Terie Norelli outlined a package that would use the Senate’s language for expansion, but changes how and when individuals would access private insurance.

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Health
6:47 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Advocates Push For Medicaid Expansion During Public Hearings

Senate President Chuck Morse prepares to give testimony during a public hearing on Medicaid expansion.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

On Tuesday, both the House and Senate held public hearings on competing Medicaid expansion bills. 

Supporters of growing the health program pulled out the same blue stickers they’ve worn at other recent public hearings. And many of the voices were the same, including doctors, nurses, advocates and citizens who shared stories about how access to health insurance would benefit low-income New Hampshire residents.

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NH News
5:13 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Shaheen Says Two-Year Budget Can End Manufactured Crises In D.C.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen is joined by Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) during a discussion in Concord moderated by Robert Bixby of The Concord Coalition.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

  Senator Jeanne Shaheen is urging the federal government to switch to a two-year budgeting cycle, saying it could help put an end to manufactured crises in Washington.

The first-term Democrat has experience with two-year budgets, as she helped craft three of them as governor of New Hampshire.

Shaheen told an audience at the UNH School of Law that a biennial plan would help end non-stop fiscal battles.

“Just think how good we could be doing if we could stop shooting ourselves in the foot, and provide some certainty through our policy decisions,” says Shaheen.

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Health
4:04 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Managed Care Transition Puts Governor Hassan In Difficult Position

Stu Wallace with his son Ethan, in the backyard of a group home in Plymouth.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

Ethan Wallace, head down, decisively storms out the backdoor of his group home in Plymouth. He checks on the garden, the shed, and then climbs onto some boulders edging the property.

“One thing about a guy like Ethan,” says Stuart Wallace, “he’s very healthy and very active. And with Ethan, there is no such thing as sitting still and relaxing.”

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Health
6:06 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

On Expansion, Lawmakers Have Two Weeks To Reconcile Two Competing Plans

Credit Ben McLeod / Flickr Creative Commons

  Lawmakers returned to Concord Thursday to debate a major part of the federal health overhaul law: expansion of Medicaid. In New Hampshire, such a move would provide insurance coverage to an estimated 50,000 low income residents.

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Health
5:30 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Legislature Gears Up For Medicaid Session, With No Deal Yet Announced

For the next two weeks, lawmakers will be in Concord to discuss Medicaid expansion, including an up-or-down vote. Governor Maggie Hassan says she’s open to ideas for how to expand the health program, but wants to make sure any final plan works for the state.

Hassan and leaders of both parties have been meeting privately to discuss ways to expand Medicaid, but as of yet haven’t hinted at a deal.

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Health
3:51 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

One-Year Renewal An Option For Cancelled Insurance Plans

Many New Hampshire residents who buy their own health insurance are finding cancelation notices in their mailbox. Anthem, the state’s largest carrier, says it’s dropping more than two-thirds of its individual plans because they don’t satisfy new regulations in the Affordable Care Act.

Linda Allen of Allen Associates in Manchester says her brokerage house has been flooded with calls about the discontinuation notice.

“I’d say our phone is ringing probably triple what it usually does with questions from our clients and from people who are not our clients,” says Allen.

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Health
5:11 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Hassan Launches Review Into Mental Health System After Violent Events

Credit DavidWilson1949 via Flickr Creative Commons

Governor Hassan is tapping former New Hampshire Supreme Court Justice Joseph Nadeau to lead a review into mental health services in Manchester following two high-profile incidents. 

In July, a 34-year old patient allegedly attacked two staff members at Elliot Hospital while awaiting transfer to the state psychiatric hospital in Concord.

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Health
4:12 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

New Hampshire's Pre-Term Births Fall; 5th Best in Nation

Fewer premature babies were born in New Hampshire in 2012. A new report from the March of Dimes shows the state’s pre-term birth rate dropped from 9.5% to 9.3%. New Hampshire has the 5th lowest rate in the nation.

Births before the 37th week of pregnancy are the leading cause of newborn death.

Doctor Rebecca Ewing with March of Dimes in New Hampshire says statewide efforts to slow elective early births and anti-smoking campaigns are having an impact.

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Health
1:52 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Food Stamp Cuts Hit State Recipients

Food stamp benefits to 54,000 New Hampshire households are being cut, as a temporary boost from the 2009 stimulus bill expires. 

During the recession, the federal government added more than $45 billion to the program nationally. But with that money spent, the nutrition assistance program now called SNAP is being scaled back.

New Hampshire families will receive up to $65 less each month. Terry Smith with the Department of Health and Human Services says that will have broader impact.

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