EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 9, 2014

N.H. House OKs new expanded Medicaid bill


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — CONCORD (AP) — The New Hampshire House passed a new bill yesterday to expand Medicaid to an estimated 49,000 poor adults, even though the Senate rejected a similar measure in November.

The bill makes one major change from the old one. It would make as many as 37,000 of the poorest adults eligible for the state’s managed care program, instead of requiring them to obtain private insurance through the federal marketplace.

The House voted, 182-154, to pass the bill, which Senate Republican leaders said undermines efforts to find a compromise.

“The decision by House Democrats to fast-track without a public hearing Washington’s ObamaCare entitlement expansion again undermines the opportunity for bi-partisan cooperation on what is a very complex and costly issue,” Senate Republican Leader Jeb Bradley said in a statement.

House Speaker Terie Norelli said the House wants to work with the Senate to find a workable way to expand Medicaid.

“Working together, with civility, reason and compromise, we can find long-term solutions to long-standing challenges,” Norelli, a Democrat, said in a statement.

Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan praised the House for passing the bill. She said the Legislature’s failure to approve expansion means New Hampshire is losing federal Medicaid funding to provide care for the adults that can’t be recouped later.

“These are real people and families, working men and women who deserve the security of health coverage. They are restaurant employees, construction and health care workers,” Hassan said.

Senate Republicans and Democrats have been negotiating to try to resolve the key hurdle that led to Senate Republicans to reject expansion so far: how and when to use the federal marketplace to buy coverage. Bradley said if a compromise is reached, the Senate will not rush it to a vote without a public hearing.