Reauthorizing Health Care Expansion another historic step forward for our people, businesses and economy

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Two years ago, we came together across party lines to pass the most significant piece of health care legislation that the state of New Hampshire had seen in decades: the bipartisan New Hampshire Health Protection Program.

This week, once again thanks to hard work and bipartisan efforts, we were able to take another historic step forward by reauthorizing this critical health care expansion.

The New Hampshire Health Protection Program, more commonly known as Medicaid Expansion, has provided nearly 50,000 hard-working Granite Staters with the peace of mind and security that comes with quality, affordable health insurance. The people who are now covered are our friends and neighbors. They are our health care workers, restaurant employees, and construction workers, and the people who work in our schools and local grocery stores.

Medicaid Expansion has provided crucial support to Granite Staters like Carrie, a single mother who now has full coverage for the first time while she balances her job and caring for her children, including one who has Down Syndrome and significant medical needs. People such as Peter, a self-employed small business owner and single father, who couldn’t afford health insurance following the recession and now has coverage.

Thousands of Granite Staters have similar stories, and the New Hampshire Health Protection Program is serving as an important temporary solution as they work to improve their situations.

As our state continues efforts to combat the heroin and opioid crisis, the New Hampshire Health Protection Program also plays a crucial role. Already, thousands of Granite Staters have accessed substance abuse and behavioral health services through the bipartisan expansion plan, and experts have said that reauthorizing expansion is essential to increasing treatment capacity in New Hampshire. Substance abuse treatment facilities across our state can now expand their services and facilities, knowing that reauthorization will allow them to continue to receive payment.

It is clear that expansion is strengthening the health and financial security of our citizens, and we know that reauthorization is critical to our businesses, to our economy and to the ongoing battle with substance misuse.

Since expansion began, hospitals have seen a significant decline in inpatient, outpatient and emergency room visits by uninsured Granite Staters. Our hospitals now provide less uncompensated care, reducing the shifting of healthcare costs onto all of our people and businesses.

Our state has also seen an increase in revenues from the insurance premium tax, and we are beginning to see cost-savings elsewhere thanks to preventive and primary care and other benefits covered by expansion. Combined, these measures are expected to save taxpayers a total of $29 million in avoided costs over the next biennium.

With the expansion population now on private insurance through our premium assistance program, we are helping retain competition in our insurance marketplace, and that competition that will strengthen options and affordability for all Granite Staters.

When I signed the New Hampshire Health Protection Program into law just over two years ago, I emphasized that helping our fellow citizens access the security of health insurance reinforced the basic principle that in New Hampshire, everyone counts. That remains true.

Everyone counts, and now no one has to face the impossible choice of paying for care or paying for rent. And thousands of Granite Staters don’t have to choose between purchasing a prescription or feeding their families.

In New Hampshire, we do democracy better than anyplace else. The work that made reauthorizing expansion proves this to be true. Unlike Washington, we have shown time and again that we are capable of engaging with each other, putting arguments aside and coming together to solve problems. That work has led to progress for our businesses and families.

The reauthorization process included healthy debate and, at times, argument. In the end, what matters is that after those debates, we were able to put ideology aside and take a critical step forward to continue strengthening our families, our businesses and our economy.

I’m proud that we were able to reauthorize the New Hampshire Health Protection Program, and I look forward to continuing to work with members from both parties, our state agencies and the federal government maximize the benefits of health care expansion for New Hampshire.



Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, is the 81st governor of NH, and was elected to office in 2013.  She is currently running for U.S. Senate.



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About this Author

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!