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State Officials: Only Those Who 'Choose Not to Comply' Will Lose Coverage Under New Medicaid Rule

Sara Plourde for NHPR

Lawyers for the state of New Hampshire are insisting that no one will lose coverage under a new Medicaid work requirement unless they choose not to comply with it.

That argument comes in response to a lawsuit that's challenging the work requirement in federal court.

In a legal memo filed on Friday, the state supports their argument by pointing out that three of the four plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit are either exempt or are already in compliance with the work requirement.

The state says the fourth plaintiff, a seasonal worker who spends part of the year farming his own food, is simply choosing not to comply with the requirement.

“The requirements of the Granite Advantage program are not onerous, the exceptions and exemptions the program provides serve as appropriate safeguards, and the only persons likely to experience gaps in coverage are persons who choose not to comply with the requirements,” argues Anthony Galdieri with the state Attorney General’s office.

In the memo the state also argues that New Hampshire's work requirement should not be compared to Arkansas', where thousands of people lost coverage because they did not understand the rules or know how to report their hours.

The state's argument comes in contrast to anecdotal reports from community health centers around the state who say confusion about the work requirement has been widespread, raising concern that people in New Hampshire may lose their insurance because they don't understand the new system.

The class-action lawsuit filed by four low-income New Hampshire residents argues the work requirement does not advance the goals of the Medicaid program.

New Hampshire's work requirement took effect in June and affects roughly 28,000 people. It requires Medicaid expansion beneficiaries who are not exempt to work or participate in other qualifying activities for at least 100 hours each month.

Medicaid expansion beneficiaries have until July 7th to report their work hours from June or risk having their health coverage suspended.

Jason Moon is a senior reporter and producer on the Document team. He has created longform narrative podcast series on topics ranging from unsolved murders, to presidential elections, to secret lists of police officers.

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