Health
2:24 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

State Republicans Push For More Input As Health Exchange Planning Takes Shape

Insurance Department Deputy Commissioner Alex Feldvebel hands out documents during today's oversight committee meeting.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

With an October 1st deadline looming, the state continues to move forward with implementation of a partnership health exchange.  In agreeing to that partnership, state Republicans say they were promised input on a planning document called a Memorandum of Understanding, or MOU.

But last week, the Feds said partner states don’t have to submit an MOU. Republicans say that shuts them out of the legislative process.

"The Governor’s suggestion that she can single-handedly implement ObamaCare in New Hampshire without a contract or MOU of how the federal government is going to take over providing insurance to New Hampshire citizens is astonishing," wrote State Senator Andy Sanborn (R-Bedford) in a release.

Other GOP members of the Joint Health Care Oversight Committee echoed those concerns. And after a two-hour meeting today, the Governor’s administration  appears to be acquiescing to their demand. A meeting is being scheduled to craft an MOU, likely before week's end.

Co-chair of the Committee Ed Butler (D-Hart's Location) says New Hampshire is hitting bumps, but continues to move forward with key provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

"As difficult or complex as it is, you are seeing our state move ahead with a very complex and challenging process. One that is very politically charged, and, yet, one that is the law of the land."

The committee meets again next week.

The Department of Insurance also announced at the hearing that New Hampshire has been awarded a $5 million grant from CMS to begin training and regulating 'in-person consumer assisters' who will help marginalized populations access the new health exchange marketplaces.