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Study Commission Hears Competing Plan For Possible Expansion

Todd Bookman

The star attraction this week at the special 9-member commission studying a possible expansion of the state's Medicaid program was AvikRoy, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and popular conservative blogger with Forbes.com.

He argued expansion in New Hampshire is a mistake because the system already can’t provide good medical access to current recipients.

"These people need health care," says Roy. "They don’t need a card that says they have insurance when they can’t get adequate coverage."

Roy instead is proposing a plan he co-developed with Senator Nancy Stiles [R-Hampton] called DirectCare New Hampshire. The state would spend $46 million per year on coverage for about 11,000 residents who don’t qualify for Medicaid and would otherwise have no insurance. Recipients would receive primary care and catastrophic coverage, but would face a $6,000 deductible and a work requirement.

Senate President Chuck Morse [R-Salem] called DirectCare an intriguing concept that deserves further study. 

But Senator Sylvia Larsen [D-Concord] blasted the proposal.

"It just makes no sense to make our state pay billions more to give taxpayers worse health coverage and cover fewer people," writes Larsen in a statement. "It is disappointing to see that while the Commission has discussed serious options in the past few months to help our economy and cover tens of thousands of people, that some would endorse such an ineffective and expensive approach that would hurt middle class families and our state's economy."

The Commission must vote on any Medicaid plan by October 15th.

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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