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Concord, NH – On Tuesday, Governor Maggie Hassan signed House Bill 1696 into law, reauthorizing the New Hampshire Health Protection Program for two more years. Nearly 50,000 Granite Staters have been able to get health care they couldn’t otherwise afford.

The Health Protection Program specifically helps working, low-income Granite Staters who don’t qualify for traditional Medicaid. Of the near 50,000 people currently enrolled in the program, 9,555 are estimated to meet clinical criteria for Substance Use Disorders—6,860 of that segment will likely access treatment services.

One beneficiary of the Substance Use Disorder services was Joy Martell, a Manchester woman who ended up in jail after overdosing.

“This September, Medicaid gave me access to an intensive outpatient program, methadone assistance, and a licensed drug and alcohol counselor,” Martell said at a public hearing on HB 1696. “Because of this assistance, I’ve been clean for more than five months and am now confidently stable.”

Throughout the winter, advocates like Joy shared their stories at district meetings and in crowded public halls, often refuting claims that the program isn’t working.

“The success of this campaign was driven by extraordinary people from all corners of New Hampshire,” said Linda Saunders Paquette, executive director of New Futures. “Our advocates arranged rides to Concord, got their shifts covered at work, called lawmakers, held events, missed personal appointments, got babysitters, gave up time on the weekends, and waited for long periods in public venues just to carry the message that this program works.”