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Special Medicaid Commission Gets To Work

A special commission looking into a possible expansion of the state’s Medicaid program met Monday for the first time.

The body consists of nine voting members, including five Democratic appointees and four by Republicans.

They put partisanship aside during the first meeting, unanimously selecting Jim Varnum to chair the group. He was tapped to serve by Governor Hassan after leading Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital for nearly three decades.

“I appreciate the opportunity and the confidence you have,” says Varnum. “This is such an important task for all of us.”

The commission will look into if and how the state should expand the state’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.

Republican Representative Neil Kurk says the group should base any decision on firm data, and called for outside help.

“I really would like to see us get the best quality, independent, neutral sources of information that we can, and have them with us, as soon as possible.”

The group only has until October 15 to make a recommendation. They meet again next week.

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University. He can be reached at tbookman@nhpr.org.
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