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N.H. governor signs Medicaid expansion into law


By Associated Press
Posted: March 27, 2014 - 5:45 pm ET
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New Hampshire officially expanded its Medicaid program Thursday to cover about 50,000 poor adults eligible for federal subsidies under the healthcare overhaul law.

Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a bill that will inject hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds into the state's economy. New Hampshire had been one of six states that had not decided whether to expand Medicaid under the federal law.

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The House voted Tuesday to send a bipartisan Senate plan to the governor that uses federal Medicaid funds to buy private health coverage for adults making less than 138% of the federal poverty limit, about $15,856 a year for a single adult.

The state estimates that 12,000 adults could begin receiving coverage in as little as a month under an existing program to subsidize employer-based coverage while 38,000 others would receive coverage through the state's Medicaid managed care program starting July 1 or as soon as possible after that.

The program is projected to cost $340 million a year when fully implemented and would use 100% federal funding through 2017 to expand coverage. Adults up to age 65 could qualify, and supporters said the bill would improve the health of currently uninsured residents by providing access to affordable preventive and primary care. They said that would reduce the amount of uncompensated care provided by hospitals, which could help drive down premium costs and help struggling businesses.

Opponents had argued the state's financial liability should be capped to protect taxpayers.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has asked the Department of Health and Human Services to work with New Hampshire to develop and approve any waiver needed to ensure a successful expansion.


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