Lawmakers returned to Concord Thursday to debate a major part of the federal health overhaul law: expansion of Medicaid. In New Hampshire, such a move would provide insurance coverage to an estimated 50,000 low income residents.
For the next two weeks, lawmakers will be in Concord to discuss Medicaid expansion, including an up-or-down vote. Governor Maggie Hassan says she’s open to ideas for how to expand the health program, but wants to make sure any final plan works for the state.
Hassan and leaders of both parties have been meeting privately to discuss ways to expand Medicaid, but as of yet haven’t hinted at a deal.
Many New Hampshire residents who buy their own health insurance are finding cancelation notices in their mailbox. Anthem, the state’s largest carrier, says it’s dropping more than two-thirds of its individual plans because they don’t satisfy new regulations in the Affordable Care Act.
Linda Allen of Allen Associates in Manchester says her brokerage house has been flooded with calls about the discontinuation notice.
“I’d say our phone is ringing probably triple what it usually does with questions from our clients and from people who are not our clients,” says Allen.
Fewer premature babies were born in New Hampshire in 2012. A new report from the March of Dimes shows the state’s pre-term birth rate dropped from 9.5% to 9.3%. New Hampshire has the 5th lowest rate in the nation.
Births before the 37th week of pregnancy are the leading cause of newborn death.
Doctor Rebecca Ewing with March of Dimes in New Hampshire says statewide efforts to slow elective early births and anti-smoking campaigns are having an impact.
Henniker Brewing Company is a little more than a year old, and this month, could break-even for the first time. That’s good news for investors, but the 5-man operation is still facing some growing pains.
Manager Dave Currier says the beer is good, but the facility needs some improvements.
“Well, as an example, we have two new bathrooms for the tap room that we want to finish,” says Currier, a former Republican state lawmaker. “And we’ve kind of run out of money in terms of our overall investment, to complete that.”
Researchers at the Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center in Lebanon are developing mobile apps to assess and treat patients who have severe mental illness. These apps could help patients in crises and also help them manage their illnesses in the crucial time between visits to the doctor.
Senator Jeanne Shaheen continues to press the Obama administration to extend the enrollment period for those looking to buy coverage through the new health law. In an op-ed in USA Today, Shaheen says consumers shouldn’t be penalized by a failed website roll-0ut.
Among those eagerly waiting on a fix for the troubled health care website are couples wading through divorce proceedings. Health insurance costs have long been a factor in divorce negotiations, but with consumers struggling to calculate and sign-up for coverage through the exchanges, some settlements are now on hold. Kysa Crusco is a family law attorney based in Bedford. She talked with Morning Edition.
In 2009, 120 infants exhibited symptoms of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), more than double the number of cases from five years prior. NAS is caused by maternal opioid use, and can result in respiratory problems, feeding difficulty and seizures in newborns.
A new report from the N.H. Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services and the N.H. Charitable Foundation says the average hospital stay for an NAS baby is 16 days, compared to three days for other births.
A flawed bid process is further delaying efforts to market the Affordable Care Act in New Hampshire, as the group in charge of awarding a $2 million contract has decided to reopen its application process.
The New Hampshire Health Plan committee voted 3-2 to award the contract to an unnamed vendor on October 9, but the group, for reasons left unstated in meeting minutes, then decided not to finalize that recommendation.
New Hampshire Health Plan Executive Director Michael Degnan wouldn’t go into detail, but says the committee was divided.
When Michael Justice was laid off from a local college last year, he lost a job he liked, a paycheck he needed and an insurance plan he relied on.
At 63, he’s now buying a policy to cover him and his wife. The bill every month is $1,638.
“It’s more than we pay for mortgage, its more than we pay on property taxes, which in New Hampshire is saying a bit,” says Justice. “It’s more than we pay for heating oil, more than we pay for electricity, more than we pay for water.”