Public hearing set for Medicaid expansion plan
CONCORD - The new, bipartisan Medicaid expansion proposal from senators will have a public hearing Tuesday at 9:15 a.m. in Room 100 of the State House.Senate leaders unveiled the plan Wednesday to add low-income adults to the government-paid health care program under the Affordable Care Act.The plan is similar to one put forth last year, but lawmakers could not agree when insurance coverage would begin and how quickly newly eligible recipients would have to have private insurance. The stalemate prevented any bill from being approved during a November special session called to act on Medicaid expansion.The new proposal would allow the state to begin the program by July, although it would end in a year if the state does not receive federal waivers for key aspects, but would end Dec. 31, 2016, anyway if the Legislature does not reauthorize the program.Previously, Senate Republicans insisted the state receive federal waivers before the program could begin.Senate supporters say the new proposal will serve as a two-and-a-half-year pilot program to see if it works for the state.New Hampshire is one of six states that has yet to decide whether to expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act. Twenty-five states and Washington, D.C., have agreed to expand Medicaid, while 19 states have rejected it.The public hearing will be before the Senate Health, Education and Human Services Committee. The committee is expected to vote on its recommendation for the bill after the public hearing.The Senate is expected to vote on the plan after its returns from a one-week hiatus the last week of February.