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Letter: Medicaid expansion makes good sense

I am a nurse practitioner, and I support Medicaid expansion. The program is federally funded to expand Medicaid to low-income adults and be administered by the state.

Even with the Affordable Care Act, too many working poor are left without health care. With Medicaid expansion, there will be subsidized coverage for more low-income residents. Without expansion, many of the lowest-income adults (below the federal poverty level) will not have access to subsidized care. Those individuals will either go without care or will get very expensive care in places like emergency rooms. Those costs ultimately come back to the taxpayers.

The number of uninsured in New Hampshire could be reduced by 100,000 with Medicaid expansion. Medicaid expansion in other states reduced the number of citizens who faced catastrophic medical expenses out of pocket.

Yes, expanded Medicaid will initially cost the state money, but we are spending that money now for uninsured health care. The feds have pledged to pay 100 percent of Medicaid expansion costs for three years, 93 to 95 percent for the next three years and at least 90 percent after that. The issue was studied by an independent firm; it concluded the program would bring New Hampshire $2.5 billion through 2020, over and above any cost to the state. This extra money will create jobs and improve access to primary care, preventive services, mental health care and substance abuse programs.

The House and governor approve Medicaid expansion. The Senate wants further study. The issue has been studied and is working well in other states. Delay past Jan. 1 will reduce the benefits to New Hampshire. Let’s put pressure on our legislators to do the smart thing: sign onto Medicaid expansion now. Find your legislators at gencourt.state.nh.us and let them know how you feel.

MIRIAM CAHILL-YEATON

Epsom

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