Medicaid Battle Looms In Budget Negotiations

Jun 3, 2013

Governor Maggie Hassan, House Speaker Terie Norelli and Senate Minority Leader Sylvia Larsen all say expanding Medicaid under so-called Obamacare is a good deal for NH:  About 60,000 more people would have insurance,  and $2.5B would flow to the state at a cost of about $85M over seven years. Republicans in the senate didn’t include expansion in their budget, and instead have proposed a commission to study the issue. But Senator Larsen and Speaker Norelli say they support exploring whether expansion can take even if the Senate opposes it.

LARSEN: "I believe the Governor’s staff is looking at it. I hope the attorney general’s office is looking at it.

NORELLI: "I also have my legal counsel looking at it as well.'

The Senate’s top budget-writer, Republican Chuck Morse of Salem says he doesn’t think the Governor has authority to expand Medicaid without legislative approval.

A spokesman for Governor Hassan says it "appears" the legislature would need to approve Medicaid expansion. But he added that delaying expansion even one years could cost N.H. up to $340m in federal funds.