Praising the bipartisan report that recommended New Hampshire accept $2.5 billion in federal funds to expand Medicaid, Governor Maggie Hassan today announced that she will call for a November special session of the State Legislature in November to consider the recommendations.
Governor Hassan will ask the Executive Council on Wednesday to support calling a special session for November 7 through November 21, dates discussed with and agreed to by the Governor, Senate President Chuck Morse and Speaker Terie Norelli.
The study commission recommended that New Hampshire move forward with expansion of Medicaid for individuals at up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level by January 1 in order to maximize the available 100 percent federal funding for the first three years. The commission's report also includes options for helping individuals stay on private insurance and for protecting New Hampshire's long-term budget outlook as the federal match gradually shifts to no less than 90 percent.
"Accepting the $2.5 billion in federal funds available for Medicaid expansion is the right thing to do for the health and financial well-being of hard-working Granite Staters and for the future of our economy," Governor Hassan said. "The study commission's diligent work thoroughly examined the options and recommended New Hampshire-specific solutions, including for promoting private insurance coverage and protecting New Hampshire's financial interests. I thank Chairman Varnum and all of the commission members for their constructive, bipartisan work that has provided a roadmap for a plan that best represents the needs of our people and state. I look forward to working with members of the House and Senate to develop legislation from this roadmap."
"Our commission set out to provide a fair, open and comprehensive process for studying the issue of Medicaid expansion in order to allow all voices to be heard and all concerns to be addressed," study commission Chairman Jim Varnum said. "I believe we have met that standard and fulfilled our requirement to produce recommendations that reflect the best interests of New Hampshire. I join the bipartisan majority of the commission in encouraging the Legislature to enact a New Hampshire plan for Medicaid expansion as quickly as possible."
Governor Hassan announced that, pursuant to her authority under Part 2, Article 50, of the New Hampshire Constitution, she will make a motion to the Executive Council at Wednesday's scheduled meeting to call the General Court into a special session beginning Thursday, November 7, and lasting until Thursday, November 21.
"I fully agree with the commission's recommendation that New Hampshire should move forward with expansion prior to January 1 - after which we will begin to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars per day that we can never recover," Governor Hassan said. "After consulting with Senate President Morse and Speaker Norelli, I am confident that a November special session will allow for thorough consideration and enactment of a New Hampshire plan for expansion in time for federal approval before January 1."