President of the New Hampshire Hospital Association
Medicaid is no longer a dirty word in hospital boardrooms.
"Right now, someone is sitting in an emergency room because they didn't have coverage," said Steve Ahnen, president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association, last week after NH lawmakers cleared the path to Medicaid expansion in the Granite State by approving a Senate bill that resolved a yearlong political struggle over Medicaid expansion. "The ability to resolve that is to get people covered."
Ahnen says NH hospitals have been feeling the pinch from uncompensated care that totaled $425 million in 2013. "We believe [Medicaid expansion] will have a significant impact on relieving that burden," he said.
New Hampshire joins several states including Arkansas and Iowa that have chosen to expand Medicaid to income-eligible adults under the age of 65 through the new health insurance exchanges. As opposed to a straightforward expansion of a state's existing Medicaid program, the "premium-based model" allows states to use federal Medicaid expansion dollars to help low-income individuals fund the purchase of health insurance policies on the exchanges.