Reflecting on a Decade of Progress: The 10th Anniversary of NH Medicaid Expansion

Reflecting on a Decade of Progress: The 10th Anniversary of NH Medicaid Expansion

The New England Council hosted a momentous event marking the 10th anniversary of Medicaid expansion in New Hampshire, in collaboration with The New England Council and Dartmouth Health. This significant milestone was not only a celebration of progress but also a platform for insightful discussions on the impact of accessible healthcare in the Granite state.

At the heart of the event was U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan, whose pivotal role in signing Medicaid expansion into law during her tenure as Governor in 2014 underscored the importance of this initiative. Her presence lent weight to the occasion, as she reflected on the transformative journey since its inception.

The panel discussion featured government, advocacy and healthcare sector leaders, moderated by Lucy Hodder, Director of Health Law and Policy Programs at UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law. The panelists, including Senator Maggie Hassan and notable figures like Jonathan Ballard, CMO of NH DHHS, Kris McCracken, President/CEO of Amoskeag Health, and Michelle Merrit, President of New Futures, as they delved into the profound impact of Medicaid expansion on New Hampshire over the past decade.

Senator Maggie Hassan passionately captured the profound impact of Medicaid expansion, stating, "Thousands of Granite Staters have been able to live happier and healthier lives because of this law. Behind these numbers are real people whose lives have been improved and even saved, all because the people of New Hampshire chose to partner with the government and expand Medicaid...The results speak for themselves. After expanding Medicaid, the uninsured rate in New Hampshire plummeted by over 40% in the first five years alone. To date, more than 291,000 Granite Staters have gained access to crucial healthcare coverage, a testament to the transformative power of Medicaid expansion.'' These words underscore the tangible human impact of Medicaid expansion, resonating with the lived experiences of countless individuals and families who have benefited from improved access to healthcare services and support.

Medicaid expansion markeed the beginning of Michelle Merrit's advocacy journey upon joining New Futures. Delving into the discussion, Merritt illuminated the profound impact opioids had on the state of New Hampshire. "To truly understand the significance of its passage, we must revisit where New Hampshire stood in 2014...While the substance use rate across the state stands at 10%, the disparity is striking when we examine individuals living below 138% of the poverty level. Their addiction rates are twice as high as the statewide average. This highlights a crucial opportunity to extend coverage to those most in need through Medicaid expansion," Merrit said.

These statistics paint a stark picture of the challenges faced by vulnerable populations, emphasizing the pressing need for comprehensive healthcare solutions. Merritt's insights offer a beacon of understanding at the intersection of healthcare access and social determinants, advocating for policies that dismantle systemic inequities and uplift communities in need.

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