Medicaid expansion is set to be approved in New Hampshire.
The Republican-controlled state Senate voted 18-5 Thursday to pass its own version of expansion under the Affordable Care Act. The five members who voted against it are Republicans.
The bill is expected to pass in the Democratic-led House, and is supported by Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan.
The bipartisan proposal would use federal funds for Medicaid expansion to buy private insurance plans on the health law's exchanges. A similar plan was implemented first in Arkansas as the state's "private option," with a small handful of other states following suit. Arkansas voted earlier this week to renew funding for its program another year, after being stalled in the House for a contentious few weeks.
Passage of the bill would give about 50,000 low-income New Hampshire residents access to insurance.
"This measure will help us address long-standing health care challenges by reducing uncompensated care at our hospitals' emergency rooms, expanding access to cost-saving primary and preventive care, and providing substance-abuse and mental-health treatment coverage to thousands of people for the first time," Hassan wrote in a statement.
The health care law extends Medicaid coverage to those at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, but the Supreme Court left the decision to opt in or out up to the states.
New Hampshire is one of six states that has not yet decided. Currently 25 states and the District of Columbia are moving forward with Medicaid expansion, while 19 are not.
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