EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

June 27, 2013

Letter: N.H. can't afford to reject Medicaid Expansion

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — To the editor:

After many New Hampshire residents testified to the state House and Senate regarding the positive impact of accessing health insurance, I am concerned that the Senate is still withholding its approval for Medicaid Expansion.

Why has the Senate not agreed to provide for the well-being of 58,000 of New Hampshire’s uninsured, including children and 2,300 veterans and spouses who would qualify?

In addition to the simple humane need for this program, there is the pragmatic effect of $2.5 billion of our federal tax dollars coming back into the state. The economic benefit for this state budget cycle is $340 million. Do you think this revenue would help our communities and small businesses over the next two years?

In addition to providing necessary, basic health care, Medicaid Expansion is predicted to provide 5,100 new jobs. Will these new jobs benefit our New Hampsire families and small businesses?

The study commission requested by the Senate will report in October 2013. If the Senate does not support this proposal shortly after the report is presented, the state will lose a full year of eligibility for 100 percent federal funding.

After 2016, the federal contribution goes from 100 percent to 90 percent. Not enrolling by Jan.1, 2014, represents a tremendous loss of both time and revenue, and negative health consequences for thousands of Ganite Staters.

Why would the Senate deny decent health care to tens of thousands of Granite State children and families, with the potential for loss of life?

Senate inaction would allow New Hampshire’s federal tax dollars to go to other states to pay for their success, while our state goes without.

New Hampshire has the third lowest return rate in the United States for our federal tax dollars paid: 68 cents for each federal dollar paid. Compare this to $2.03 return that North Dakota is enjoying, and the $1.89 that comes back to New Mexico.

Those who express concern federal funds will not be forthcoming ignore the fact that in the 50 years of Medicaid, the federal government has never failed to meet its commitment to pay New Hampshire for this critical program.

Please urge your senator to support this reasonable program to extend needed health coverage to New Hampshire families without insurance. Many of them are working, paying taxes and cannot afford health care today or tomorrow. There is a way to help them. And we should do it.

State Rep. Lisa I Whittemore