This morning, ahead of a vote in the House of Representatives later this month, business and health care leaders from across New Hampshire joined together to call for the reauthorization of the Granite Advantage Health Care Program without a sunset.
Granite Advantage, New Hampshire’s Medicaid Expansion program, is set to expire at the end of this year. Since its inception in 2014, the program has provided critical insurance coverage to nearly 220,000 Granite Staters in need. At Tuesday’s press conference, speakers called on lawmakers to pass Senate Bill 263 as written and stressed that short-term reauthorization, like the two-year extension included in the House-passed budget proposal, will fail to provide the stability and security that families, health care providers and insurers need to protect the health of the state.
“After being in place for nearly a decade, there is no question, Medicaid expansion has made New Hampshire healthier,” said Mike Skelton, President & CEO of the Business & Industry Association. “Removing the sunset on this program provides long-term stability at a time when the program has demonstrated value to our economy and health care system.”
At the press conference, speakers representing the AARP New Hampshire, the N.H. Hospital Association, Ammonoosuc Community Health Services and the Greater Manchester and Greater Nashua Chambers of Commerce emphasized the importance of long-term reauthorization to patients, health care providers and businesses across the Granite State.
Christina FitzPatrick, State Director, AARP New Hampshire: “The ongoing positive impact of Granite Advantage is clear. Reauthorizing the program with no predetermined sunset would maintain stability for patients and ensure reliable access to health care for hard-working Granite Staters.”
Steve Ahnen, President & CEO, N.H. Hospital Association: “With this coverage in place, formerly uninsured Granite State residents – our friends, family, coworkers and neighbors – are now able to be seen by a primary care doctor or in a health clinic, to receive important primary and preventive care, cost-effective management of chronic conditions, and life-saving mental health and substance use services. In other words, the Granite Advantage Health Care Program provides the ability for these patients to receive the right care, at the right time, in the right place.”
Ed Shanshala, CEO, Ammonoosuc Community Health Services: “Since the program launched, we’ve been able to increase our capacity to meet the needs of our patient by 100 percent in mental health and 443 percent in substance use disorder services. When people get the care they need and they are in recovery, they contribute significantly to the state of New Hampshire.”
Heather McGrail, President & CEO, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce: “Reauthorizing Medicaid expansion is sound public policy that will continue to drive economic growth. Given the program’s already successful track record and relatively small investment n the part of the state, we believe (reauthorizing the program without a sunset) is unequivocally a benefit to New Hampshire citizens that should be overwhelmingly approved.”
Chuck Mattia, Membership Development Director, Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce: “Without continued Medicaid expansion, uncompensated care will rise, costs will be passed on to other insurer contracts, causing an increase in premiums for all. This ‘cost shifting’ would constitute a tax on employers and employees.”
IN PHOTO: Christina FitzPatrick, State Director of AARP New Hampshire, joins with other health, business leaders to call for
reauthorization of Medicaid Expansion without sunset, Tuesday morning, May 9, at a press conference in Concord
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