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Bipartisan commission to study Medicaid expansion

CONCORD — A bipartisan commission assigned to study if New Hampshire should expand Medicaid coverage will kick off Monday, facing an Oct. 15 deadline for issuing its recommendations.

Lines already are drawn on what New Hampshire should do.

Americans for Prosperity-New Hampshire, an advocacy group opposed to expanding Medicare, pointed to the recent decision by the Obama administration to delay the start of the mandate for businesses to offer health insurance to workers or pay a penalty.

“The unraveling of Obamacare is starting, and hitching the state’s finances to a train that’s going off the tracks is a disaster waiting to happen,” said Greg Moore, the group’s state director.

Gov. Maggie Hassan said the state stands to lose about $1 million in federal funds per day for every day past Jan. 1, 2014, that Medicaid expansion is delayed.“Accepting the $2.5 billion in federal funds available for Medicaid expansion is critical for boosting our economy, transforming our health-care system and providing needed health coverage for tens of thousands of New Hampshire working families,” Hassan said.Hassan wants the Legislature to hold a special session to vote on the commission’s recommendations.

Monday’s meeting starts at 10 a.m. in Rooms 210-211 in the Legislative Office Building. The meeting will be live steamed via the General Court website.

The commission members are:

• Rep. Neal Kurk of Weare, the ranking Republican on the House Finance Committee who sits on the division that oversees appropriations to the Department of Health and Human Services.

• Rep. Cindy Rosenwald, a Nashua Democrat and chairwoman of the same finance committee division that handles the HHS budget.

• Sen. Andy Sanborn, a Bedford Republican and chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.

• Rep. Tom Sherman, a Rye Democrat and physician.

• Sen. Nancy Stiles, a Hampton Republican and chairwoman of the Senate Health, Education and Human Services Committee.

• Sen. Peggy Gilmour, a Hollis Democrat and member of the Senate Health, Education and Human Services Committee.

• Jim Varnum, former president of Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital.

• Dr. Travis Harker, president of the New Hampshire Medical Society.

• Charlie Arlinghaus, president of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, a conservative think tank.

• Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny and Health and Human Services Commissioner Nick Toumpas will serve as non-voting members.

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