Last week the Senate Finance Committee heard testimony on whether New Hampshire should expand Medicaid.
The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, gives states the option to expand Medicaid eligibility. The federal government will reimburse states for 100% of the cost of expanded Medicaid through 2016. Federal reimbursement will then decrease to 90% in 2020.
At the hearing last week Senate President Peter Bragdon (R-Milford) questioned if the federal government would live up to the promise of 100% reimbursement through 2016.
Department of Health and Human Services Associate Commissioner Katie Dunn responded that New Hampshire could go back to old Medicaid eligibility if the federal government does not provide reimbursement as promised.
Although the combined impact of Medicaid expansion on the state budget is difficult to calculate. However, in January 2013 the Lewin Group, on behalf of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, estimated that the expansion would add $18 million in costs to the state budget, but add $2.8 billion to the state's economy.
The Medicaid expansion debate is part of the Senate budget debate, which will continue through the first week of June.
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