Full court press on for permanent expansion of Medicaid
April 5, 2023
CONCORD — Health care advocates packed a committee room Tuesday to endorse the permanent expansion of Medicaid coverage for low-income adults.
The testimony came two days before the House of Representatives will vote on a proposed state budget trailer bill (HB 2) that would extend the program for two more years.
Last month, the state Senate unanimously passed a separate bill (SB 263) that would erase a Dec. 21, 2023 end date for the program, a change Gov. Chris Sununu said he supports.
Senate President Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, said that since its inception in 2014, expanded Medicaid coverage has helped reduce the uninsured population in the state, which he said saves residents with health insurance from having to pay a “hidden tax” through higher premiums.
“I hope the question you will ask that the Senate asked which was, has Medicaid expansion worked, and I believe the answer is a resounding yes,” Bradley told the House, Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee.
Thanks to the Granite Advantage Health Care Program, hospital spending on uncompensated care dropped from $173 million in 2014 to $69 million in 2021, said New Hampshire Hospital Association President Steve Ahnen.
“As a result of this coverage, these patients are now able to receive the right care, at the right time, in the right place,” Ahnen said.