Debate Over Medicaid Expansion Moves To N.H. House

Mar 10, 2014

After clearing a major hurdle last week by making it through the Republican-led Senate, debate began in the House Monday on a proposal to expand the state’s Medicaid program.

The bill's first stop is the House Finance Committee, where a Monday morning hearing attracted a large crowd.

One of the supporters was Henry Lipman with the New Hampshire Hospital Association.

He said his organization strongly supports the measure and told lawmakers not only would it be good for the state’s economy, but, most importantly, it would help patients.

“Particularly those in the doughnut hole, those individuals today who are between zero and 100 percent who often come to apply for marketplace assistance only to find out they’re too poor to get coverage.”

The bill proposes to use federal funding to cover the cost of private health insurance for an estimated 50,000 low-income adults.

Opponents fear the costs will become too burdensome.

The proposal does require lawmakers to reauthorize the program by the end of 2016, when federal funding is expected to drop to 90 percent.

The committee hopes to get the bill before the Democratically-controlled House by the end of the month.

Governor Maggie Hassan, who supports the plan, says coverage should be ready by July 1 for the newly-eligible.