On Wednesday the House will take up one of this session’s most significant pieces of legislation – whether to continue the state’s Medicaid expansion program another two years. One of the biggest hurdles supporters of the bill have to overcome on the floor this week relies on the measure’s work requirements.
Under the current proposal, Medicaid recipients would be required to work or volunteer a total of 30 hours a week to receive benefits.
Related: HB1696 is broken down in our recent primer on Medicaid expansion.
Several other states have tried such requirements, but the federal government rejected them. If the bill passes as it's currently written and the feds reject New Hampshire's requirements, then the program would shut down as a whole. The bill's original language included a clause to keep the program running, but lawmakers stripped that out last month.
Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, the bill’s main sponsor, urged lawmakers in an information session Monday to put this clause back into the legislation.
“I think that if the program is going to move forward that we have to ensure that it doesn’t get hung up on a dispute between New Hampshire and Washington over what are federal policies,” Bradley said at the State House.
Last month the bill on continuing Medicaid expansion passed the full House 207 to 136. If passed this time around, it will then head to the Senate.