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Advocates Push For Medicaid Expansion During Public Hearings

Todd Bookman

On Tuesday, both the House and Senate held public hearings on competing Medicaid expansion bills. 

Supporters of growing the health program pulled out the same blue stickers they’ve worn at other recent public hearings. And many of the voices were the same, including doctors, nurses, advocates and citizens who shared stories about how access to health insurance would benefit low-income New Hampshire residents.

But there was one important new wrinkle. During the Senate hearing, Kevin Klein, an executive for one of the managed care organizations that’s taking over administration of Medicaid, expressed concern over the Senate Republican plan. It would eventually have newly eligible individuals choose between private insurance or new coverage plans offered by the MCOs.

That means Klein’s company, Wellsense, would go up against companies like Anthem for customers they thought they’d already secured through contracts with the state.

"We are being asked to move away from the contract we do have and support, to one where we would have to invest, again, a lot of money to get to the point where we feel we could be competitive with other players," says Klein.

Klein also says his company likely wouldn’t have a plan ready for the public in 2015, the date the Senate is calling for.

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