Bradley outlines potential Medicaid expansion compromise
Update 1:20 p.m.: Responding to Bradley's proposal, Speaker of the House Terie Norelli pointed to the legal contracts the state has signed with the managed care companies, which include an expectation the companies will be paid to insure the expansion population, and do not expire until July 1, 2015.
“We remain open to hearing the detail of their proposal," she said. "It's clear from testimony that anything prior to July 1, 2015 is not workable, and the House timeline (Jan. 1, 2017) is. We don’t know if anything between July 1, 2015 and (2017) would be workable.”
In an interview this morning with the Monitor editorial board, Sen. Jeb Bradley opened the door to a compromise timeline for Medicaid expansion in New Hampshire.
Previously, Democrats, including Gov. Maggie Hassan and leadership in the House, had proposed a program that would give adults earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level coverage through the same managed care insurance companies now overseeing most of the state’s Medicaid program.
Republicans, who control the Senate, have proposed allowing that population access to managed care plans for one year, and then giving them federally funded premium support for two years to buy insurance on the federal marketplace website.
Yesterday, Democrats proposed – and Republicans rejected – adopting the Senate plan with an open timeline to allow for federal approval of waivers and bring more insurance companies onto the marketplace. In rejecting that proposal, Senate President Chuck Morse, a Salem Republican, said, “the governor’s proposal is nothing but a bridge to nowhere.”
This morning, Bradley, accompanied by Morse at the interview, said a defined extension beyond 12 months could be acceptable.
“If it were 18 months, that’s possible that we could have that kind of a discussion,” Bradley said.
The 2015 deadline for moving newly eligible enrollees to the exchange is driven by Hassan’s priority on starting the expansion program on January 1, 2014, when federal funding is first available.
“We accommodated that, and that’s driving everything else,” Bradley said. “If we were to not accommodate that to give more time for the private premium support waiver to be in place then I think we’d be there, but we tried to accommodate the governor’s key criteria here, starting as soon as possible. That’s what’s driving it here. That is what’s driving the technical issues and I think we feel, wait a minute, we have done the right thing in terms of accommodating the key criteria.”