Sen. Bradley Defends Medicaid Expansion, Says Program Can Be Improved

Feb 1, 2017

Sen. Jeb Bradley speaking at the Bi-State Primary Care Association Legislative and Business Breakfast.
Credit Todd Bookman/NHPR

Senator Jeb Bradley says New Hampshire’s approach to Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act has been a success, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be improved.

The Republican from Wolfeboro was an architect of the state’s Medicaid expansion program, so it’s no surprise that he would talk up its successes. Speaking to a roomful of advocates and lawmakers at the Bi-State Primary Care Association annual breakfast in Concord, Bradley says that a replacement of ObamaCare could further enhance the health program for the poor. But he says advocates need to take a ‘wait and see’ approach as Washington lawmakers draft a plan.

“There’s room that we can make a program that works for providers like you, that works for the 50,000 patients in New Hampshire, and that works for the budget of the state of New Hampshire,” says Bradley.

One of the changes he’d like to see is a work requirement for recipients, something the Obama Administration prohibited.

The former United States Congressman and current State Senate Majority Leader also reiterated his support for the role of community health centers in New Hampshire.

During her remarks at the event, Bi-State Primary Care Association CEO Tess Kuenning described health centers as a safety net for the state’s vulnerable, and an important tool in fighting the opioid epidemic.

“It’s really important that we invest in primary care,” says Kuenning. “That is what we need to do in the state. That is the first access that people have to see their doctor, and we need more capacity.”

The state slashed funding of health centers by more than 40-percent during the recession, something advocates say should be reversed.