BY: Citizens Count
On Tuesday, February 20 the public had a chance to weigh in on a bill to continue New Hampshire's expanded Medicaid program. Right now the program is scheduled to expire in December.
About the new expanded Medicaid proposal
The public hearing was on SB 313, a bill that makes several notable changes to expanded Medicaid. First, participants will no longer use private insurance from the online health insurance marketplace. Instead, participants will use managed care organizations, the same as traditional Medicaid enrollees.
Second, the program carries a work requirement. Participants must work or be in job training, although there is some flexibility in that requirement. For example, a parent of a dependent child under age six would be exempt from work requirements.
Third, the program eliminates voluntary funding by health care providers. Instead, bill sponsor Sen. Jeb Bradley submitted an amendment that would fund the program with revenue from alcohol sales.
Lastly, Sen. Bradley’s amendment also sets up a pilot program to help low income individuals find work. The program would use funds from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) – commonly known as “welfare” – to help with job training, job placement, and other barriers to work, such as childcare.
Support for and resistance to SB 313
Legislators from both parties have expressed support for continuing expanded Medicaid eligibility, even if they dislike parts of SB 313.
"After several months of work, we must continue to work together in a bipartisan way, build from the unanimous recommendations of the Medicaid commission, ensure we don't arbitrarily kick anyone off of health insurance, and actually help break down barriers to work."
- Sen. Jeff Woodburn
In particular, supporters note that expanded Medicaid eligibility has helped over 20,000 individuals receive treatment for drug addiction.
However, some Democrats are uncomfortable with the strict work requirements. For example, some legislators wants to exempt single parents with children under age twelve from work requirements.
On the other side of the aisle, some Republicans still believe expanded Medicaid is an unsustainable welfare program.
"This still leaves an entitlement program, which in the future is not sustainable for the state, and could leave taxpayers holding the bag for even higher costs as Congress looks to get out from under a failed Obamacare model."
- Greg Moore, state director of Americans for Prosperity
Do you support this expanded Medicaid proposal? Share your opinion in the comments below.