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Garry Rayno's State House Dome: The new face of health care
First, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield revealed aspects of its Pathway program, developed for the health insurance marketplace, or exchange, and then Harvard-Pilgrim, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and Elliot Health Systems rolled out their ElevateHealth plan.
The Pathway program is not technically an ACO, but the concept is pretty much the same because Anthem decided which hospitals and affiliated physician practices and services would be in the network. Not included are some small rural hospitals, the state's two for-profit hospitals in Portsmouth and Derry, Concord Hospital, Southern NH Medical Center in Nashua and Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester.
The Harvard-Dartmouth-Elliot group also includes Southern NH Medical Center, Cheshire Medical Center and New London Hospital.
Individuals buying health insurance through the marketplace will be on Anthem's narrower network, including the 3,000 people in the high-risk pool, as will current Anthem individual policyholders when their policies expire. Also included will be any employer purchasing insurance on the exchange, although small-business mandates will not go into effect until January 2015, so few if any are expected to use the exchanges.
Harvard-Pilgrim business customers will be offered a choice between ElevateHealth and their current policy's broader network, with a 10 percent higher premium.
Many people will have to change their primary care physician and hospital and travel farther for health care services. In return, the individual insurance market will have expanded benefits and a greater number of people with health insurance.
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Medicaid Expansion: The moment everyone has been waiting for is almost here.
To date, the commission has heard from state health and insurance officials, national experts, local experts, proponents and opponents, providers and social service advocates.
One likely component is the state's Health Insurance Premium Payment program, which pays to continue private health insurance for low-income adults through Medicaid.
Beginning Tuesday, the expansion committee members try to determine what goals they have for expansion, if that is what lawmakers ultimately decide to do.
Hassan and the Democrat-controlled House favors expansion of the current program to cover adults earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty limit, while the Republican-controlled Senate refused to include expansion in the state's two-year operating budget and instead opted to establish the commission, which is where it stands.
The House filing period lasts through Sept. 29, although committee members studying bills have until December to file their requests, known as LSRs.
Usually, the second year of a Legislature's term-year term is more partisan, as both parties position themselves in regard to hot-button issues going into an election year.
We will know soon enough whether this year follows the usual route.
New Senate Communications Director: Tom Cronin is the Senate's new communications director, replacing Carole Alfano, who resigned to take a similar position at the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
He served on the Washington, D.C., staff of former U.S. Sen. John E. Sununu and was press secretary for Ovide Lamontagne's gubernatorial bid in 2012.
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