AFTER STATE LEGISLATURE CLEARS MEDICAID EXPANSION, SHAHEEN URGES FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO SUPPORT STATE’S IMPLEMENTATION OF PROGRAM TO BENEFIT THOUSANDS

In a letter to HHS Secretary Sebelius, Shaheen says Medicaid expansion will benefit hard-working people in New Hampshire Governor Hassan expected to sign bipartisan Medicaid expansion plan this week

March 26, 2014

(Washington, DC) – Following an historic and bipartisan vote Tuesday in the New Hampshire House approving Medicaid expansion for New Hampshire, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) asked the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to work with the state to “expeditiously develop and approve any waiver necessary to ensure a successful expansion of the Medicaid program in the state.”

“The expansion of Medicaid in New Hampshire will extend insurance coverage to approximately 50,000 people in our state,” Shaheen said in a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Many of the New Hampshire residents who will benefit from the Medicaid expansion are hard-working adults who do not have other insurance options.”

Shaheen continued, “For far too long, they have worried about the economic consequence of bankruptcy for serious illnesses. The expansion of the Medicaid program will bring them the security of good health coverage to get the care they need, when they need it.”

The bipartisan Senate plan approved by the House (202-132) will cover an estimated 50,000 adults in New Hampshire under the Affordable Care Act through the Medicaid program. Governor Maggie Hassan is expected to sign the law later this week, which will direct federal Medicaid funds to provide health coverage for adults making less than 138 percent of the federal poverty limit, about $15,856 a year for a single adult.

Once the bipartisan plan is enacted, New Hampshire will become the 26th state to expand its Medicaid program under the health care reform law.

The full text of Shaheen’s letter is included below:

March 25, 2014                                                                                 

The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius
Secretary
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20201

Dear Secretary Sebelius:

Governor Maggie Hassan will soon take an historic step and sign into law a bill that will expand Medicaid in the state of New Hampshire. I urge you to work expeditiously with the state to develop and approve a waiver that complies with the law.

The expansion of Medicaid in New Hampshire will extend insurance coverage to approximately 50,000 people in our state.   Many of the New Hampshire residents who will benefit from the Medicaid expansion are hard-working adults who do not have other insurance options.   For far too long, they have worried about the economic consequence of bankruptcy for serious illnesses. The expansion of the Medicaid program will bring them the security of good health coverage to get the care they need, when they need it.  

Medicaid expansion is also a smart fiscal decision for the state of New Hampshire.  As you know, the Affordable Care Act requires that the federal government pay for 100 percent of the costs for the newly eligible population through 2016, and then phases down its contribution to 90 percent by 2020 and beyond.  It was estimated that New Hampshire would have received $2.4 billion in federal funding through 2020 if the state had expanded Medicaid beginning in 2014.  These funds are an important economic boost to our hospitals and other health care providers who otherwise may not receive compensation for the services they provide. 

Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter and I appreciate you working with the state to ensure a successful expansion of the Medicaid program.  

                                                            Sincerely,

                                                            Jeanne Shaheen

                                                            United States Senator