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Governor's Commission recommends expanding state’s Medicaid program

State House Bureau

May 31. 2013 8:22PM

CONCORD — The Governor’s Commission on Medicaid Care Management recommends that the state expand the Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.

The commission was appointed in April to oversee and make recommendations on the state’s move from a point of service model to a managed care system for the Medicaid program.

By a unanimous vote, the commission says the state should expand Medicaid eligibility to 138 percent of the federal poverty level to ensure the successful transition to managed care system.

This is the first recommendation issued by the commission, which was established by the governor’s executive order in April to review and recommend best practices in implementing a managed care program.

Mary Vallier-Kaplan, commission chair wrote to Gov. Maggie Hassan on Friday.

“Our reason for urgency in this recommendation for Medicaid expansion is that the care management system being pursued by the State is constructed and depends on Medicaid expansion occurring,” she wrote.

“In the unanimous opinion of the Commission, failure to proceed with the expansion jeopardizes the entire care management initiative and the ability of the Department of Health and Human Services to carry out its legislative mandate in this regard.”

The commission notes the three managed care companies hired by the state to run the program assumed Medicaid would be expanded under the ACA, creating a larger pool and lowering administrative costs.

Rejecting Medicaid expansion would alter the business assumptions and costs for managed care companies, the commission said, and it could cause the organizations to pull out of the state and eliminate projected state savings.

“Two years ago, the New Hampshire General Court directed in SB 147 that managed care become the policy of New Hampshire’s Medicaid program,” said Vallier-Kaplan. “If Medicaid expansion is now rejected by the New Hampshire Legislature, it appears likely to reverse its previous policy and the Medicaid care management initiative. The commission urges that Medicaid expansion be supported by our elected officials to ensure the financial stability of our State’s Medicaid program.”

The Senate’s proposed $10.7 billion budget does not include Medicaid expansion and instead would establish a commission to study the impact expansion would have on the state.

Both Hassan and the House included Medicaid expansion in their proposed budgets.

The Senate votes on its version of the budget Thursday and House and Senate negotiates are expected to begin work on a compromise plan in several weeks.

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