New Hampshire Accepts Medicaid Expansion Under Obamacare

Roughly 49,000 low-income adults in New Hampshire will soon have health coverage, as state lawmakers struck a bipartisan deal to accept Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion on Thursday. The fate of the expansion was uncertain after the state legislature failed to reach an agreement on it in November, but Democrats and Republicans in the state Senate finally hammered out a deal on Thursday, which Governor Maggie Hassan praised in her State of the State speech about an hour later.

There’s a caveat, however: The deal only expands Medicaid for as long as the federal government pays for 100 percent of the cost — in other words, three years. At that point, when the federal dollars will only cover 90 percent of the expansion, state lawmakers will have to vote to renew it.

Nevertheless, New Hampshire is now the 27th state to accept the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, following Utah’s surprise decision to do so in January. While there isn’t yet sufficient data to determine exactly how many people have received coverage thanks to the expansion, a recent estimate pegs that number at around 3.7 million. In total, over 7 million people have enrolled in Medicaid since the implementation of Obamacare last October.

However, thanks to the 2012 Supreme Court ruling on the law, states can opt-out of the expansion should they so desire, and 21 states — all Republican-controlled — have done so. A recent study suggested that, in the states that have rejected the Medicaid dollars, an additional 8 million people will go without health insurance, and roughly 17,000 people will die due to lack of health coverage.