NH Health, Business Leaders Applaud House Passage of Medicaid Expansion Reauthorization
May 19, 2023
CONCORD, N.H. – Thursday evening, the New Hampshire House of Representatives advanced the reauthorization of Medicaid expansion when it voted 193-166 to pass SB 263, which extends the program without a sunset. The bill, which already passed the Senate unanimously, will now head to the House Finance Committee for further consideration.
Medicaid expansion, now known as the Granite Advantage Health Care Program, provides critical health insurance coverage to tens of thousands of individuals and families in need. Since its inception in 2014, Medicaid expansion has helped nearly 220,000 people access vital health care services, including preventative and primary care, mental health and substance use treatment, among other services.
Granite Advantage is set to expire at the end of 2023. Without legislative action, the program will cease, as many as one out of every 25 Granite Staters will lose access to their health insurance, and the New Hampshire health care system could lose hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding.
In response to the House vote, Granite State health, business and community leaders issued the followings statements:
Steve Ahnen, President, New Hampshire Hospital Association: “Medicaid Expansion provides critically important health care coverage that includes the ability to be seen by a primary care doctor for primary care, as well as preventative care, and cost-effective management of chronic conditions. Medicaid Expansion has also been life saving for those in need of mental health and substance abuse services. As a result of this coverage, these patients are able to receive the right care, at the right time, in the right place.”
Christina FitzPatrick, State Director, AARP New Hampshire: “When the continued existence of the Granite Advantage Health Care Program is in jeopardy every few years, people who may be battling severe illness have the added worry of potentially losing access to affordable treatment. Reauthorizing it with no predetermined sunset is especially relevant to older adults, who are more likely than younger people to have a health condition in need of treatment.”
Natch Greyes, Government Affairs Counsel, New Hampshire Municipal Association: “The Granite Advantage Health Care Program ensures that Granite Staters and their families have their health insurance coverage they need, without downshifting costs onto local budgets and taxpayers.”
Keith Kuenning, Advocate Attorney, Waypoint: “We know that Medicaid expansion is critical not just to adults but also to the health and well-being of children. When parents gain coverage, they are more likely to enroll their children and to take their children to the doctor. This has demonstrated an increase in well-child visits for children in Medicaid expansion states. By passing Medicaid Expansion without a sunset, New Hampshire will ensure long-term stability and care not just for our adults, but also for our most vulnerable children.”
Tess Stack Kuenning, President and CEO, Bi-State Primary Care Association: “Bi-State’s NH Community Health Center members serve 1 in 5 Granite Staters enrolled in Medicaid. Long-term reauthorization of the Granite Advantage Health Care Program, rather than reauthorization for two years or five years, is essential for our members for patient continuity of care and financial stability. Like any business, health centers conduct long-term financial planning to ensure sustained access to comprehensive primary care services for all of their patients.”
Michele Merritt, President & CEO, New Futures: “Medicaid expansion is a lifeline for individuals and families in need. Without it, many would simply not be able to access the health care, mental health and substance use treatment they rely upon. Reauthorizing this critical program without a sunset will bring stability and security to thousands of Granite Staters; it will boost our health care workforce and strengthen the New Hampshire economy over the years to come. We thank the House for voting to reauthorize Medicaid expansion without a sunset, and we look forward to working with our lawmakers to help SB 263 cross the finish line and become law.”
Mike Rollo, Director of Government Relations, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network: “We know having access to preventative care and screenings leads to better health outcomes for cancer and other diseases. However, the only way we can ensure all Granite Staters have access to care they need – now and in the future – is by reauthorizing Medicaid expansion, without a sunset. Now is the time for lawmakers to act.”
Karen Rosenberg, Policy Director, Disability Rights Center: "Reauthorizing the Medicaid Expansion Program without a sunset will improve access to health insurance for people with disabilities. The Senate’s proposal for a long-term solution provides security and stability for individuals with disabilities who rely on Medicaid as a lifesaving pathway to health care services, services that help support them to work and live in their communities.”
Susan Stearns, Executive Director, NAMI New Hampshire: “As so many Granite Staters impacted by mental illness and substance misuse have shared in testimony, Medicaid Expansion is literally a life changing and lifesaving program. Passage of SB 263 without a sunset date ensures thousands of NH families that they and their loved ones will have access to the care they need to live full lives in their communities.”
Lisabritt Solsky Stevens, Chief Government Relations and Compliance Officer, Easterseals New Hampshire: “The vast majority of clients at Farnum receiving substance misuse care are on the Medicaid Expansion. The sustainability of Farnum depends not only on the reauthorization of Granite Advantage, but also on the longevity of that reauthorization. Substance abuse is taking an outsized toll on our communities and country and we must ensure that evidence based providers of recovery services remain viable well into the future.”
For more statements and information, please visit https://www.nhneedsmedex.org.