Another State to Flip on Medicaid Expansion

The New Hampshire Senate voted to approve expansion, clearing the way for adoption in the state.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Governor of New Hampshire Margaret Wood Hassan attends a celebration for leading women in Washington hosted by GOOGLE, ELLE, and The Center for American Progress on January 20, 2013 in Washington, United States. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for ELLE)
National Journal
Sophie Novack
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Sophie Novack
March 6, 2014, 11:14 a.m.

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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