NH officials told: Do not expand Medicaid
While one expert told the nine-member commission that she sees no reason a state would want to expand Medicaid eligibility, others said it would save money over time through preventative care and the decline in the use of expensive emergency room services.
But Lynda Flowers, senior policy advisor for AARP, said expanding Medicaid to include adults, particularly those between 45 and 64 years old would reduce future costs by keeping that population healthy longer.
“There are people in your state that are not accessing critical health services,” Flowers said. “If they are not treated, they come into Medicare with chronic health needs and that is very costly.”
Does the state want to maximize access to health care and health outcomes, or minimize the roll of state government and the federal dollars flowing to the state, Norton asked, or does it want to minimize state dollars while maximizing federal dollars, health coverage, and the use of private insurers? He said without setting goals, it is difficult to decide on what models would be best for the state and in deciding if better health for citizens and the community outweighs the money spent on the program.
Deb Fournier of the N.H. Fiscal Policy Institute presented several options for the state that would be cost effective, including paying the premiums for the private insurance coverage someone already has, although they are eligible to be on Medicaid.
The commission has an Oct. 15 deadline to issue its recommendations.
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