At the beginning of March, we were thrilled to report that the bi-partisan way had been paved for New Hampshire to expand its Medicaid program. With Senate approval of Senate Bill 413 in hand, the House passed the Medicaid expansion bill on March 25, by a margin of 202-132. Finally, on March 27, Governor Maggie Hassan signed the bill into law. As a result, about 50,000 low-income adults in New Hampshire will have access to health coverage through Medicaid.
Members of the advocacy community played key roles in helping New Hampshire get to yes on the question of accepting federal funds to offer Medicaid coverage to more of its residents. In particular, we would love to give a big shout out to our friends at New Hampshire Voices for Health, as well as all the other advocates in New Hampshire, for their hard work throughout this debate. By encouraging a variety of low-wage workers—such as hair dressers, restaurant employees, and child care providers—to share their stories about the importance of Medicaid to them, advocates helped policymakers to see how much their friends and neighbors would benefit from the expansion. We have been proud to support and partner with them through Community Catalyst’s ACA Implementation Fund and the New England Alliance for Children’s Health.
There is still much to do to ensure Medicaid expansion works for the people of New Hampshire. For most of the newly eligible, coverage should begin on July 1. In the meantime, advocates and policymakers will undertake a waiver application process to get approval of some aspects of the expansion plan from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. But as New Hampshire embarks on these next steps, we congratulate them on the progress they have made toward realizing the full potential of the Affordable Care Act to increase coverage and access to care for everyone in the Granite State.