Senate Expands Health Care Coverage

Bipartisan Compromise Now Moves on to House

The Senate on Thursday voted 18-5 in favor of SB 413, which would expand health care coverage to as many as 42,000 hard-working Granite Staters who don’t currently have access to affordable coverage. With the strong, bipartisan vote, the bill now heads to the House, which is expected to pass it.

The House moved quickly later in the day Thursday to accept the bill and assign it to committee. The House Finance Committee will hold a hearing on the bill on Monday.

SEA President Diana Lacey said the Senate’s vote showed concern for the well-being of working families while maintaining fiscal prudence.

“We applaud them for their commitment to bringing access to affordable health care to all NH families and in so doing moving the state forward,” Lacey said. “Healthy families generate healthy and productive workers; healthy children who do better in school; and healthier seniors who will lead fuller and happier lives during their retirement years.”

Lacey pointed out that this bill helps close the so-called “coverage gap.”

“Under the Affordable Care Act, everyone was supposed to have a way to get affordable health insurance,” she said. “People with low incomes would get low-cost or free health insurance so long as their state leaders accepted the federal funds set aside for this purpose. Today, I proudly thank our Senate for fulfilling this promise to all the hard-working people who make too little money to get discounted health insurance in the ACA Marketplace and too much to qualify for Medicaid under the current criteria. Accepting this federal funding is essential to provide them with access to low-cost insurance. It’s time to pull people out of the coverage gap.”

Gov. Maggie Hassan called SB 413 a uniquely New Hampshire solution and thanked members of the Senate for working together.

“The bipartisan plan underscores our continued commitment in New Hampshire to working through our challenges together, and I applaud President Morse, Senator Larsen and members of both parties for reaching across the aisle to achieve this progress,” Hassan said. “As is the case with any compromise, both sides demonstrated a willingness to be flexible and make difficult choices, and we will need to continue our bipartisan cooperation throughout the implementation process in order to maximize the benefits of health care expansion for our people and economy.”

 

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