To the editor:
There are good reasons to object to Medicaid Expansion, but none of them is financial. If Medicaid Expansion is NOT passed, New Hampshire will not only lose $2.5 billion (yes, billion, that is not a misprint), but this money also will be distributed among other states.
In effect, New Hampshire will be donating our share to the rest of the United States. If it passes, New Hampshire will gain huge benefits, and not just in the medical marketplace. This is an expansion of the Affordable Care Act and does not change existing Medicaid and Medicare benefits. It would add approximately 58,000 New Hampshire citizens who currently do not qualify for any medical insurance aid.
This is money being returned to New Hampshire citizens. It is not borrowed money, and it does not add to the national debt in any way. It is taken from the federal taxes we all pay and is a tangible return on our investment.
Extending benefits to 58,000 citizens would take away much of the strain on our hospital emergency rooms. Patients would not only be able to seek normal medical care, but they also would tend to go in early before symptoms become acute. Expensive emergency care would be replaced by more routine and preventive care, considerably lowering costs and improving overall citizen health.
Lower costs would also translate into lower insurance premiums. After all, uninsured patients are never refused medical care. The cost of their care is passed along to others as increased insurance premiums.
The increased patient volume would also generate new medical jobs in the state, and since many of the new beneficiaries are in rural and northern New Hampshire, the struggling rural hospitals would be able to stay open and serve their communities.
Perhaps the one drawback would be an initial surge in patient loads as the newly eligible visit their clinics and hospitals for routine care. Over the long view, this would bolster the state medical system and lower medical costs for everyone.
I urge you to write your state senator and support passage of the Medicaid Expansion provision of the state budget.