Bill to Limit Impact of Medicaid Work Requirement Heads to Governor

May 3, 2019

Credit Dan Tuohy / NHPR

A bill that seeks to limit the impact of a controversial new Medicaid work requirement is now headed to Governor Chris Sununu’s desk.

The so-called community engagement requirement is set to take effect in June. It will require some low-income people who get their health insurance through the state's expanded Medicaid program to complete 100 hours of work or other qualifying activities each month or risk losing their coverage.

A Democrat-backed bill passed by the House on Thursday would eliminate the requirement if more than 500 people lose insurance because of it. It also adds more exemptions to the requirement, including for people who are homeless and full-time students.

Jerry Knirk, a Democratic state rep from Freedom, argued the bill was a sensible response to the rollout of a similar work requirement in Arkansas which led to thousands of people losing health insurance.

“If the implement of the community engagement provision occurs as intended, elimination of the requirement will not occur,” said Knirk.

Republican State Rep William Marsh described the bill as a betrayal of the political compromise behind expanded Medicaid in New Hampshire.

“It is with a heavy heart that today I recognize we are about to change our Medicaid expansion program, not because data shows that we need to but simply because we can,” said Marsh.

The bill now heads to Governor Chris Sununu.