Medicaid

Nearly 90% of the people who signed up for health care through the Affordable Care Act in New Hampshire have paid their first month’s bill.

Anthem, the only insurance company in the exchange this year, says roughly 35,000 out of the 40,000 who enrolled through healthcare.gov are paid up.

That's a higher percent than estimates put out by Republican members of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee. Their report released April 30th stated that just 67% of enrollees nationally had paid their first month’s premium.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

A recent ruling declaring a state tax on hospitals unconstitutional is leaving lawmakers scrambling for a fix. On Tuesday, three amendments were put forward, each offering a different path.

Representatives Cindy Rosenwald (D-Nashua) and Neal Kurk (R-Weare) are co-sponsoring a plan that changes technical language within the Medicaid Enhancement Tax and designates that none of the revenue be allocated to the state's general fund.

“We need to rethink the nature of the MET, the purpose and the partnership,” said Rosenwald.

The Senate's tax committee is meeting to discuss a recent court ruling that found New Hampshire's tax on hospitals unconstitutional.  Senate President Chuck Morse told the Ways and Means Committee last week he hopes negotiations among legislative leaders, the governor and the hospitals produce a short-term fix to avoid a major impact on the budget. The committee is hoping to have a proposal to attach to a House bill when the panel meets Tuesday.  The Superior Court ruling applies to the 2014 tax year and future tax years.

State of New Hampshire

 

Senate President Chuck Morse says lawmakers need to agree on a short-term fix to address a court ruling that found New Hampshire's tax on hospitals unconstitutional.

Gavel
SalFalko, Mentus Media / Flickr Creative Commons

 A judge has ruled that New Hampshire cannot collect a Medicaid Enhancement Tax from hospitals.   In a ruling released Friday, Hillsborough County Superior Court Philip Mangones says the state should have stopped collecting the tax in 2011 when a loophole in the Medicaid reimbursement system closed. He says the tax is unconstitutional.   Catholic Medical Center, St. Joseph Hospital and Exeter Hospital sued in 2011, challenging the $31 million they paid in the tax that year.

It’s been a little more than 100 days since the state of New Hampshire dramatically re-shaped its biggest program. On December 1st, traditional Medicaid became Medicaid Managed Care, shifting administration of the health program into the hands of private companies in the hopes of saving $15 million a year.

Perhaps the biggest change to the program for recipients revolves around something called prior authorizations.

Gov. Maggie Hassan says she expects those eligible for insurance under a Medicaid expansion plan backed by a bipartisan group of State Senators will be covered in July.

The plan to insure as many as 50,000 low income residents by using federal money to pay for private coverage cleared a key committee last week.

The plan is expected to win full approval by lawmakers, but those votes have yet to be scheduled.  

Governor Hassan says she’s optimistic that will happen with enough time for the plan’s two-month enrollment period to begin May 1.

Some North Country Health officials told Gov. Hassan Thursday that increasing funding for psychiatric services and expanding Medicaid are vital for improving healthcare in the region.

Hassan met with workers at Ammonoosuc Community Health Services in Littleton.

Its executive director, Edward Shanshala, told Hassan it is good that she restored funding for primary preventive care.

And he is hopeful that Medicaid will be expanded to help low-income families in the North Country who can’t afford health insurance.

At the end of the legislative season, New Hampshire lawmakers decided to spend the summer studying whether the Granite State should accept or reject federal funds to extend Medicaid to more residents.  A special committee has held weekly sessions on this, with a deadline of mid-October.  We’ll find out what they’re looking at and what they may decide. 

Guests

A nine-member commission charged with exploring whether to expand Medicaid in New Hampshire is beginning to take shape.

The Muddle Over Medicaid

May 30, 2013

The Affordable Care Act encourages states to expand Medicaid coverage and provides funding to do so. So far, the tally is roughly even between states opting in and opting out, but some are still undecided, including New Hampshire.  Medicaid expansion has support from the House and Governor but the Senate has some serious doubts.

Guests

Although the Supreme Court upheld most of the Affordable Care Act, it said states could choose whether to expand Medicaid. Supporters say doing so helps low income Americans gain coverage and boosts the economy. Critics warn it’s government overreach and is simply unaffordable. We’ll get New Hampshire’s take on this debate.

 Guests

Todd Bookman / NHPR

    

New Hampshire’s Medicaid program currently insures poor children, the disabled and low income pregnant women.

But after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, the state must decide if it wants to expand the program to adults that earn less than $15,000 a year: roughly 58,000 people in New Hampshire.

According to Representative Bill O’Brien, the state just can’t afford to cover those extra people.

To Expand (Medicaid) Or Not To Expand

Jan 11, 2013

Lawmakers will decide this spring whether to expand the state’s Medicaid program to include childless adults making less than roughly $15,000. To make sure they have all the information they need, the Department of Health and Human Services commissioned a study to look at the effects.

We poured over the 61-page report, and boiled it down to these 5 takeaways.

President Obama’s re-election didn’t exactly smooth over implementation of his signature health care law. State governments across the nation maintain a solid level of anxiety over the bill.

Concord is no different…lawmakers like Republican Jeb Bradley expect to spend a lot of time grappling with the Affordable Care Act’s key provisions.

“The biggest single issue that this legislature in the upcoming two years will face is the expansion of Medicaid.”

Todd Bookman / NHPR

The Department of Health and Human Services released a report Thursday looking at Medicaid expansion in New Hampshire.

Ben McLeod / Flickr Creative Commons

When the Supreme Court ruled on the Affordable Care Act, it said states must be given a choice about expanding their Medicaid programs.

Option A: Keep things as they are.

Option B: Enroll more people, and the Federal government will help you pay for their care.

Democrat Jackie Cilley likes that second option. She says that if New Hampshire doesn’t grow its Medicaid rolls, poor people will continue to slip through the cracks, and that Republican lawmakers in Concord would bear the blame.

Mercy Health, via Flickr

Reporters love to write in a kind of shorthand. And when it comes to Medicaid, the preferred shortcut is, 'the health care program for the poor.'

FAQ: New Hampshire Looks At Expanding Medicaid

Jul 24, 2012
Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucid_nightmare/65310065/">Lucid Nightmare</a> / Flickr

Q. What does the state have to decide in terms of Medicaid expansion?

A. The Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act gives states the choice to either maintain their current Medicaid program or extend it to more low-income residents. In states that choose to expand, adults who bring home less than $15,000 a year and a family of four who earns less than $30,000 a year will qualify. In New Hampshire, expansion would add about 56,000 people to the state's rolls, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

N.H. Begins To Wrestle With Medicaid Expansion

Jul 24, 2012
Sara Plourde / NHPR

A group of New Hampshire lawmakers will meet Wednesday to begin discussing how the state should move forward under the nation’s health care law.  One of the big questions for the Joint Health Care Reform Oversight Committee is whether New Hampshire should expand its Medicaid program.

The recent Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act gives states the option to extend Medicaid to more low-income residents. Under the new law, beginning in 2014, an adult who brings home less than $15,000 a year and a family of four with income under about $30,000 will qualify.

Flikr Creative Commons / Fifth World Art

This is a closer look at the Supreme Court’s Ruling as it relates to Medicaid in the Granite State. Under the upheld law, an additional 17 million people nationwide are set to become eligible for Medicaid in 2014. That’s a 27 percent increase. The new threshold is $29,000 dollars a year for a family of four.

Federal regulators have given the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Service 30 days to provide information about the state’s Medicaid program.

 

State and Managed Care company officials met today with the executive council to discuss the contract that would change the state’s Medicaid Program. The councilors have serious concerns, and many questions.

The $2.2 billion dollar proposed contract is the biggest in the history of the state. Supporters say Managed Medicaid would streamline services for the some 130,000 people in the program. Health-care providers worry the new contract may hurt their patients and their business.

Senate Begins Battle Over Abortion Funding

Apr 5, 2012

Thursday, members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee considered a bill that would ban public funding of facilities that provide abortion. Opponents of the bill, which has already been approved by the House, say it could jeopardize $700 million in federal Medicaid funds. The bill's sponsor, Republican of Rochester Warren Groen, says preventing the state from funding abortion is a smarter way to use scare with public dollars.

Texas, Feds Face Off Over Planned Parenthood

Mar 28, 2012

Texas and the federal government are going at each other again, this time over Planned Parenthood.

The Texas Legislature cut off all Medicaid money to Planned Parenthood because of its involvement in abortions; in response, the federal government has suspended funding for the state's reproductive health program.

Now, Texas is suing the Obama administration.

Closed For Business

Executive Council Mulls Massive Medicaid Contract

Mar 27, 2012

The Executive Council is scheduled to vote tomorrow on a new Medicaid contract worth an estimated $2.2 billion–believed to be the largest contract in state history.

But signs from an Executive Council meeting Monday suggest that vote may be pushed back.  And the state may struggle to meet its July 1 deadline.

It’s a huge contract financially, handing over several billion dollars to three managed care companies to run the state’s Medicaid program.  And it’s huge for the some 140,000 New Hampshire residents who rely on Medicaid.

The federal health law's expansion of Medicaid will cover some 16 million more Americans in the government program for the poor, if that part of the law survives the legal challenge it faces in the Supreme Court beginning next week.

Florida is leading 25 other states in that challenge, but that hasn't stopped two of Miami's most prominent hospitals from preparing for the Medicaid expansion.

When the Supreme Court hears arguments over President Obama's health care law next week, one item on the table will be a program that has been in place for nearly 50 years.

Medicaid, a joint federal-state program that provides health care for the poor, was signed into law by Lyndon Johnson. Under the Affordable Care Act, it will be greatly expanded and provide coverage for millions of uninsured, including low-income adults without children.

Medicaid Grant Money To Help Home Based Services

Mar 2, 2012

New Hampshire will be the first state in the country to receive new Medicaid grant money to help seniors and people with disabilities remain in their homes.

The state will receive $26.5 million over three years through the Affordable Care Act.

The goal is to help states shift from institutional care to home and community-based services.

In 2009, 41 percent of New Hampshire’s Medicaid money was spent on community-based services.

That will increase to 47 percent in 2013 with the new grant money. 

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