A big day in the world of health policy, nationally and in New Hampshire. State regulators are still trying to gauge how to handle the President’s offer to let consumers keep canceled insurance plans. And in Concord, lawmakers continue to negotiate over Medicaid expansion, one week into a special session. NHPR’s Health Reporter Todd Bookman talks with All Things Considered Host Brady Carlson.
A Concord-based PR firm is getting $1.9 million to launch a statewide media campaign promoting the federal health law.
Louis Karno & Company says it will use the money to create a website with New Hampshire-specific information on the Affordable Care Act by December, and then begin a broader media push including television and radio ads meant to educate consumers.
The New Hampshire Health Plan awarded the federal funds. Executive Director Mike Degnan says information on this health law is greatly needed.
Governor Maggie Hassan and House Democrats are offering to adopt the Senate’s plan for Medicaid expansion provided they make certain changes, but GOP leadership says the proposal falls short of a compromise.
On Wednesday, Hassan and House Speaker Terie Norelli outlined a package that would use the Senate’s language for expansion, but changes how and when individuals would access private insurance.
On Tuesday, both the House and Senate held public hearings on competing Medicaid expansion bills.
Supporters of growing the health program pulled out the same blue stickers they’ve worn at other recent public hearings. And many of the voices were the same, including doctors, nurses, advocates and citizens who shared stories about how access to health insurance would benefit low-income New Hampshire residents.
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.