Letter: A sliver of hope for Medicaid providers

Published: 6/12/2019 12:01:23 AM

With the passage of the Senate budget in Concord, hope remains for the state’s beleaguered Medicaid providers.

Partisans disagreed over budget aspects, yet support for increased Medicaid care funding was unanimous. While those increases were much less than those in Senate Bill 308, a bipartisan health care workforce bill, they might at least keep pace with inflation.

For nursing homes, for example, the average Medicaid rate went up only .17% on Jan. 1, and is projected to go up .76% on July 1. Yet in New England, the Consumer Price Index rose 1.3% just between February and April. As New Hampshire also has the nation’s lowest unemployment, coupled with the region’s worst Medicaid funding, providers face a workforce catastrophe. That’s true for everyone, including those providing in-home care.

The spring 2019 Granite State Poll found 63% of residents would increase Medicaid care funding at the expense of the state’s Rainy Day Fund. As it turns out, that fund receives $125.7 million under the Senate’s budget, making it flusher than ever. In the coming budget reconciliation process, all parties – House, Senate and Gov. Sununu – must preserve the Senate’s Medicaid funding increases.

New Hampshire cannot be an island of funding neglect. Compassion should be bipartisan, as it is elsewhere. A host of Republican-led states dramatically increased care funding this year by over 10%, including Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Dakota. We have the nation’s second-oldest population, and failure to invest in care now will lead to disaster.

BRENDAN WILLIAMS

Pembroke

(The writer is president and CEO of the New Hampshire Health Care Association.)




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