Medicaid expansion commission to vote on key provisions of its report
By the end of the day today, the commission studying whether New Hampshire should expand Medicaid should have voted on several key provisions of its report, its chairman said yesterday.
The nine-member group has until Oct. 15 to issue a written report, and if decisions aren’t made this week on what the majority want to recommend, “we’re going to run into, I think, major issues,” said Chairman Jim Varnum yesterday.
The votes will likely follow the outline of a plan presented yesterday by Rep. Tom Sherman, a Rye Democrat.
Commissioners will vote on whether they believe Medicaid coverage should be expanded to all adults ages 19-64 who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, as allowed under the federal Affordable Care Act. Under that law, the federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of that coverage for the first three years, a bill expected to total $2.5 billion.
After 2016, the state will be responsible for an increasing amount of the cost, up to 10 percent.
Charlie Arlinghaus, president of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy and one of the commission’s conservatives, suggested that coverage be extended to people who earn up to 100 percent of the federal poverty limit.
People earning between 100 percent and 138 percent of the limit will be eligible for federal subsidies and tax credits toward the cost of private coverage on the new online health insurance marketplace.
Federal officials have indicated that the full funding is available only if states expand Medicaid to all eligible adults earning less than 138 percent of the limit, state officials said at the meeting yesterday. Requesting a waiver from that requirement could take several months.
The commission is scheduled to meet 12:30-4:30 p.m. today and again Tuesday. At that time, commissioners who do not agree with the majority conclusions reached today will be able to outline an alternative proposal to include as a minority report in the final draft.
(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)