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Hospital Association, Finance Chairman Disagree on What Ruling Means for Budget

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Allison Quantz for NHPR
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The New Hampshire Hospital Association says a federal court ruling last week means state budget writers owe hospitals $80 million on top of what the governor has already proposed. But the head of the house finance committee disagrees. 

The Hospital Association won a victory against the federal government over how the feds calculate compensation hospitals get for carrying for patients without insurance or on Medicaid.

The local upshot is how much money the state needs to put in the budget to help hospitals cover those costs. Steve Ahnen, President of the Hospital Association, says the ruling means Governor Chris Sununu's proposal falls $80 million short of what the hospitals are owed.

"We're looking for assurances that the state will continue to meet its obligations," he says.

But in an interview with NHPR, House Finance Chairman Neal Kurk said the court ruling changes nothing - and that he doesn't see a reason to give hospitals more than what the governor proposed last month.

The Hospital Association and the state have battled in court over this issue for years, eventually reaching a settlement in 2014. If budget writers fall short of what the hospitals are expecting, the issue could be back in court.

Before joining NHPR in August 2014, Jack was a freelance writer and radio reporter. His work aired on NPR, BBC, Marketplace and 99% Invisible, and he wrote for the Christian Science Monitor and Northern Woodlands.

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