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N.H. House Votes To Expand Medicaid

Daniel S. Hurd via Flickr CC

The New Hampshire House has voted 202-132 to expand Medicaid to cover an estimated 50,000 low-income adults under the Affordable Care Act.  

The move comes after more than a year of debate, and while the vote in the Democratically-controlled chamber wasn’t a surprise, Republicans weren’t exactly ready to concede the point.

They put forward nine amendments on issues ranging from delaying the start date to capping enrollees, all of which failed.

“Our constituents did not elect us to expand what they do not like: Obamacare,” Rep. Neil Kurk (R-Weare) reminded his colleagues.

But 11 Republicans joined with the majority to pass the bill, which cleared the GOP-held Senate earlier this month.

Representative Cindy Rosenwald (D-Nashua) says it will bring relief to the working poor.

“Many have gone without health insurance for a long time and put off needed care.”

Under the plan, an estimated 50,000 residents will gain access to Medicaid this summer. Recipients will transition into the exchange in 2016, where they will be able to select private coverage.

The program sunsets at the end of 2016 unless a future legislature renews it. Federal regulators also need to approve the idea.

Passage is a victory for Governor Maggie Hassan, who has made expansion a legislative priority. She says she’ll quickly sign the bill into law, making New Hampshire the 26th state to expand its Medicaid program under the ACA.

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.

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