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As Democrats Eye Increase in Medicaid Rates, HHS Chief Defends Rates In Sununu Budget

Dan Tuohy/ NHPR

The state's top health official told legislative budget writers Thursday that he believes the Medicaid reimbursement rates included in Governor Sununu's proposed budget are sufficient.

But top demcorats say those rates need to be boosted to improve access to care for low-income Granite Staters.

When Sununu presented his budget, Senate President Donna Soucy called its failure to increase reimbursement rates "a major omission." Later that day, the Senate voted to spend $3 million to lift rates for providers of mental health services and substance misuse treatment.

Jeff Myers, commissioner of the state Department of Health and Human Services, told lawmakers the money allocated by the governor should be enough.

"Right now all or virtually all of our Medicaid medical services are provided in managed care, and the amount of money is actuarially determined, by an actuary we hire and it gets funded, and we've got to make sure we have enough funds in the budget to cover those rates."

Myers added that rates included in the governor's budget are consistent with what the state thinks is needed for the coming year, but that decisions on rates are really up to lawmakers, not the governor.

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