Health
3:42 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Insurance Department Makes Case For Medicaid Expansion

Tyler Brannen, Jennifer Patterson and Alex Feldvebel of the N.H. Insurance Department testify before the commission considering Medicaid expansion.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

The New Hampshire Insurance Department took an overwhelmingly positive view on expansion during its presentation to the Medicaid Expansion Study Commission, the body that will decide if the state grows the health care program for the poor under so-called Obamacare.

Department officials told the nine-member body that expansion would benefit a wide range of groups, including insurance companies, hospitals and employers with low-paid workers.

Tyler Brannen, a health policy analyst with the Department, testified that people who buy their own insurance also stand to gain.

"If the people who would be qualified for an expanded Medicaid enroll in Medicaid, they are not in our commercial market, and it is reasonable to believe that people that are left in our commercial market are going to be healthier, which may translate into lower premiums," says Brannen.

That view, though, isn’t universally held. Senator Andy Sanborn (R-Bedford) told colleagues he’s expecting a rate hike of between 30-40% next year.

The commission is holding hearings throughout the summer, with a final report due October 15th. 

At the meeting's conclusion, Chairman Jim Varnum announced that BerryDunn, a Maine-based consulting firm, has been hired to assist in crafting the final document.