New Hampshire Legislature Called into Special Session on Medicaid Expansion

New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan is bringing legislators back to the Capitol this week to consider Medicaid expansion in time for January 1, 2014 implementation. But first she has to convince the Senate to go along with her proposal. 

A study commission on the issue finished its work the middle of October. According to the Nashua Telegraph, the governor praised their work. “The study commission’s diligent work thoroughly examined the options and recommended New Hampshire-specific solutions, including for promoting private insurance coverage and protecting New Hampshire’s financial interests.” 

The paper reports that the use of private insurance and preventing runaway growth in the Medicaid program still divide the governor and Senate leaders. By late Wednesday, the paper predicts either a deal or a political explosion. Without the agreement of Senate leaders, the governor would need to convince at least two Senate Republicans to vote for the expansion. 

If a deal is reached, the measure can be introduced and a public hearing held the second week of November. The House and Senate could vote on the issue Nov. 21. This timeframe gives New Hampshire time to move to expand Medicaid eligibility on January 1, 2014 and maximize its access to federal funds.