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Permanent reauthorization of expanded Medicaid right choice for NH

Permanent reauthorization of expanded Medicaid right choice for NH

Granite Advantage Health Care Program a sound investment in state’s workforce and economy

CONCORD — The president of New Hampshire's statewide chamber of commerce and leading nonpartisan business advocate called for permanent reauthorization of the state’s expanded Medicaid program in testimony before the Senate Health & Human Services Committee Wednesday, Feb. 22.

Business & Industry Association President & CEO Michael Skelton said permanent reauthorization, through Senate Bill 263, is a workforce and economic issue for New Hampshire, and among BIA’s top policy priorities. Skelton said New Hampshire’s workforce shortage will be worsened if the Legislature doesn’t reauthorize the Granite Advantage Health Care Program.

“The difficulty of attracting and retaining workers is without question the number one concern we have heard from employers of all sizes and from every part of the state,” Skelton said. “A healthy population contributes to worker availability.”

BIA has nearly 400 member companies employing more than 100,000 Granite Staters. Member companies contribute over $5 billion in economic activity in the state each year. BIA was an early supporter of expanded Medicaid and has supported every effort to reauthorize the program. Skelton said expanded Medicaid is a proven success for New Hampshire.

The Granite Advantage Health Care Program was established in 2014 and reauthorized twice since then, but it’s scheduled to sunset at year’s end. That could leave up to 60,000 enrolled state residents without adequate health care. The program covers physical and behavioral health and substance abuse treatment for people earning up to 133% of the federal poverty level. The state covers just 10% of the program’s cost as the federal government covers the rest.

Failure to reauthorize the program would cost the state $500 million in federal funding each year and raise the cost of health care and health insurance for most residents. The loss of federal funds for expanded Medicaid would have a catastrophic effect on New Hampshire hospitals that are often the largest employers in communities around the state.

“We will return to the dark days when hospitals provided critical health care but received little or no compensation for doing so,” Skelton said. “The costs of uncompensated care are shifted to other payers and in New Hampshire that is primarily employers in the form of higher health insurance benefit costs.”

Individual employees who contribute a portion of their health care insurance benefit costs would also bear the brunt of this cost shifting.

The Legislature can avoid these negative consequences by passing SB 263.

“We benefit from an overall healthier population,” Skelton said. “Hospitals and other caregivers avoid catastrophic loss of revenue and employers and employees across the state will benefit from individuals being healthy enough work.”

BIA will continue its advocacy work to assure passage of permanent reauthorization of expanded Medicaid.

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Media Contact : Rick Fabrizio,

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