Medicaid Expansion

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Coming on the heels of last year's prolonged budget fight, with negotiations stretching months longer than usual, the 2016 session of the New Hampshire Legislature can't help but seem a bit sleepier. But, in fact, it was a busy few months for lawmakers.

Things kicked off early, actually, with a special session in November to address the state's opioid crisis. Lawmakers eventually worked through more than 1,000 bills, wrapping things up late last month. 

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New Hampshire’s expanded Medicaid Program, which currently offers health insurance to 48,000 Granite Staters, has been extended for another two years.

On Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Maggie Hassan officially signed the bill into law at the State House.

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Gov. Maggie Hassan is signing into law a Medicaid expansion bill that allows nearly 50,000 New Hampshire residents to keep their health care for another two years.

Medicaid expansion, made possible through President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law, subsidizes health care for people making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line, or roughly $16,000.

New Hampshire’s expanded Medicaid Program, which offers health insurance to 48,000 Granite Staters, will continue another two years. That’s after Gov. Maggie Hassan promised to sign the legislation that cleared the Senate Thursday 16 to 8.   

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

After more than a year of debates and discussion, lawmakers could take their final vote Thursday on whether to continue the state’s Medicaid expansion program for another two years.

If the Senate passes the bill without change, it could be signed into law as early as this week.

Jack Rodolico

When Jen Howe woke up on Monday, she wasn’t planning on being back in the surgeon’s office. She’s laid out on a table, and the nurse reminds her to relax, and breathe.

Howe had an abdominal surgery two weeks ago. The incision is just below her waistline. Dr Krzysztof Plociennik is probing two inches into the wound, poking at a hard spot until blood squirts out of the wound.

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The battle lines on the fight over the future of New Hampshire’s Medicaid expansion are well-defined as the issue comes up for a vote in the state Senate tomorrow.

On Wednesday’s episode of The Exchange, State Sens. Jeb Bradley and Andy Sanborn — a vocal proponent and opponent of the expansion, respectively — sparred over a number of elements of the program, including its effects on the state's drug crisis.

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Under the affordable care act, thirty one states, including New Hampshire, opted to expand this health insurance coverage for low-income people.  Now, the legislature is debating how and whether to extend the program.  The House has said yes, but with some controversial conditions. The Senate votes on Thursday.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

After clearing a key Senate committee Monday, sponsors of the bill to reauthorize Medicaid expansion are making sure they have the votes needed to pass the full Senate.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

After a lengthy debate, the Senate's Finance Committee on Monday backed a bill re-authorizing New Hampshire’s Medicaid expansion program for another two years.  The bill was the same piece of legislation the House overwhelming approved earlier this March. 

Sara Plourde for NHPR

The question of whether to continue New Hampshire's expanded Medicaid program has been one of the top State House policy debates this year.

But it's something local governments are mulling over as well. In City Halls across the state, officials say the program has led to some significant savings: in the slice of taxpayers’ money set aside for medical and prescription aid, and indirect savings in other areas.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The question of whether New Hampshire should continue its expanded Medicaid program is now before the state Senate.

The Senate Finance Committee heard hours of testimony on the issue Tuesday, and the debate there is falling along the same lines as it did in the House – it all comes down to cost. 


State lawmakers are set to tackle a pile of bills this week, many of which address New Hampshire's drug crisis.  The bills include proposals to legalize needle exchanges and the creation of a statewide drug court program. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

"On the Political Front" is our weekly check-in with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The House voted 216 to 145 to reauthorize Medicaid expansion for another two years. The bill now heads to the Senate.

But that was after much debate on the floor Wednesday – more than two hours of it.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

On Wednesday the House will take up one of this session’s most significant pieces of legislation – whether to continue the state’s Medicaid expansion program another two years. One of the biggest hurdles supporters of the bill have to overcome on the floor this week relies on the measure’s work requirements.  

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

"On the Political Front" is our weekly check-in with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A key House committee voted to support reauthorization of the state’s Medicaid expansion program for another two years. Under the bill, the state's insurance premium tax, along with hospitals and insurance companies, will have to cover the costs of the program that will no longer be paid for by federal dollars next year. For hospitals and insurers alone, that comes to about $24 million each year, starting in 2017.

Sara Plourde/NHPR

As the New Hampshire legislature debates whether to extend expanded Medicaid, house lawmakers continue to question whether the state will get a return on its investment. After two days of work sessions, the House Finance Committee heard its final testimony Wednesday before its scheduled to vote.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

House lawmakers continue to examine how New Hampshire would pay for Medicaid expansion for another two years. On Tuesday GOP leaders on the finance committee were again looking for a guarantee that if passed, private insurance rates will not increase.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

After having a 7-day vacation, lawmakers will return to Concord this week. The full Senate will be meeting on Thursday to take up more than 40 bills. Meanwhile the full House won’t come back until next Wednesday.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Dozens of people filled the House Finance Committee room Wednesday to hear testimony on whether to continue the state’s Medicaid expansion program. Many of those who spoke said they support the program, but some argued its costs will fall to people with private health insurance. Related: NHPR's primer on Medicaid expansion

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The New Hampshire House Finance Committee on Wednesday will take up a bill seeking to continue the state’s expanded Medicaid program for another two years.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Although the full House will not be meeting this week, lawmakers still have their hands full working through dozens of bills in committee.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Gov. Maggie Hassan will give her last State of the State address Thursday at 1:30 at the State House.

The two-time Governor will finish up her term in November as she pursues a U.S. Senate seat against incumbent Republican Kelly Ayotte.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

As the sunset for New Hampshire's Medicaid expansion approaches, state legislators are debating how best, or whether, to extend the program. And while the prospect of dropping 47,000 Granite Staters who receive this coverage is daunting, some lawmakers are worried about how to fund it when federal support decreases.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Newly confirmed New Hampshire Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers spent part of his first official day on the job lending his support to a plan to extend the state’s Medicaid expansion another two years.

Sara Plourde for NHPR

Discussions over the future of New Hampshire’s Medicaid expansion kick off in earnest this week, setting the stage for one of the biggest policy debates before state lawmakers this year.

The question of whether to reauthorize the expansion, known officially as the New Hampshire Health Protection Program, has loomed over the State House for much of the last year.



Republican lawmakers' plan to continue Medicaid expansion in New Hampshire includes work requirements for people receiving the insurance and proposes a way to pay for the state's share of the program without charging taxpayers.

Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley will outline the proposal Wednesday alongside several advocacy groups in advance of a public hearing the next day.

Sara Plourde for NHPR

Republican leaders in the New Hampshire House and Senate say they’re willing to consider reauthorizing the state’s Medicaid expansion after its sunset date at the end of 2016 — as long as they can find someone to help foot the costs.

On Monday’s edition of The Exchange, House Speaker Shawn Jasper said it doesn’t seem politically feasible to expect him to pass a plan that requires more public spending.