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N.H. Health Department Likely to See $33 Million in Shortfall Dollars

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The New Hampshire House overwhelmingly OK’d a proposal Thursday to allocate $33 million to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services to make up for a budget shortfall.

House Finance Chair Neal Kurk urged lawmakers to approve this measure, saying if the department doesn’t immediately get the money, it can’t pay its upcoming bills.

Kurk says the shortfall is not the department’s fault, but rather that of state budget writers. He says earlier state budget writers were working with the wrong numbers.

“The deficit is due to estimates that were made in the course of the budget process that turned out to be inaccurate. It’s unfortunate that this happens but as hard as we try we sometimes make mistakes,” Kurk told his colleagues on the House floor.

Specifically, Kurk is referring to Medicaid numbers. When writing the current biennium’s budget, lawmakers underestimated the number of Medicaid patients they would have.

The Senate has already signed off on this funding and the Governor is likely to sign it as well. The money will come out of leftover dollars from the current fiscal year.

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