NH would expand Medicaid, with some catches

New Hampshire is now leaning the way of Arkansas and other more politically conservative states by potentially expanding Medicaid through the use of private insurance, the Concord Monitor reported.

A bipartisan report on Medicaid expansion recommended that coverage under the Affordable Care Act include all residents who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. However, the committee recommended that all residents earning between 100 and 138 percent of poverty level receive premium support in order to purchase coverage on the state's health insurance exchange--a move that could lead to better payments to hospitals than current Medicaid rates.

Those with incomes low enough to qualify for Medicaid but who are offered private insurance via their employer would be required to accept it. Under those circumstances, the state would supplement any additional costs, the Associated Press reported.

The nine-member committee mulled but rejected several options from its more conservative members, including requiring Medicaid recipients to have jobs or actively seek them. It also rejected a proposal to automatically end the program if it exceeds spending estimates. The Republican members of the committee who made those proposals ultimately voted against the report's recommendations.

New Hampshire is among the more than two dozen states that have yet to expand Medicaid, but is continuing to mull its options. Its Democratic governor wishes to do so, but a conservative majority in its House of Representatives remains opposed.

Should New Hampshire lawmakers move ahead with the committee's recommendations, it would require a waiver from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, according to the Monitor.

To learn more:
- read the Concord Monitor article
- here's the Associated Press article

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