Supporters of Medicaid expansion filled the lobby of the Legislative Office Building in Concord for a mid-morning press conference. The show of force comes in advance of Thursday’s budget vote in the Senate.
Flanked by reform advocates, hospitals administrators and doctors, Governor Hassan pressed lawmakers to take advantage of the federal government’s promise to pay 100% of the costs of expansion for the first three years.
She quoted New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie, who supports expansion and says it will save money for taxpayers in his state.
Hassan also said New Hampshire's economy could use the $2.5 billion in economic activity expansion would bring.
"Doing difficult things requires that we all come together and focus on doing what’s right, and what’s smart. Medicaid expansion is the right thing to do, and it is the smart thing to do."
But top Republicans say the smart thing to do is study the issue further. They’re calling for a commission rather than an immediate expansion.
Senator Jeb Bradley says that federal money shouldn’t be confused with free money, and that studies have shown Medicaid recipients don’t see improvement in in their health outcomes.
Hassan mocked that idea, saying that it was "slightly ridiculous" that a family could somehow be better off without insurance.