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House Finance Hears Final Testimony Before Vote on N.H.'s Medicaid Expansion

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Sara Plourde/NHPR
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As the New Hampshire legislature debates whether to extend expanded Medicaid, house lawmakers continue to question whether the state will get a return on its investment. After two days of work sessions, the House Finance Committee heard its final testimony Wednesday before its scheduled to vote.

GOP leaders on the House Finance Committee pressed all the players involved, including policy experts, hospitals, and insurance companies on whether the program, which began in August of 2014, has actually saved state dollars. 

Representatives for the hospitals and insurance companies could not confirm that, but say because 48,000 people are now insured, emergency room costs have gone down. 

And when lawmakers asked Steve Norton of the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy that very same question, his answer was blunt.

“I think if you believe that you are going to answer every question about the impact of the Medicaid expansion in a year and a half you are fooling yourself,” Norton told the committee.

Finance Chair Neal Kurk, a Republican from Weare, responded to Norton.

"I think we are coming to that conclusion on our own because so many of the folks who have come before us are saying we don’t have the data.”

The House Finance Committee plans to vote on the measure Thursday morning at 9 AM.

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