(Manchester, NH) — Today, public health experts joined Protect Our Care NH to highlight how Medicaid has provided Granite Staters with access to quality, affordable health care, strengthened local economies, and improved health outcomes across the state. Congressman Chris Pappas met with policy experts from around the state in a Zoom roundtable
Medicaid has served as a lifeline during the pandemic, providing health coverage to a record number of Americans at a time they need it most. Total Medicaid and CHIP enrollment in New Hampshire was more than 190,000. Medicaid in New Hampshire is also called Medical Assistance. The agency that administers the program is the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Medicaid is a federal health insurance program for low-income individuals of all ages.
The Affordable Care Act made the expansion of Medicaid eligibility possible.. Under the expansion, Medicaid eligibility was extended to adults up to age 64 with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level. By expanding Medicaid, the ACA created a pathway to coverage for millions of low-income adults.
Congressman Pappas said “Nothing is more important to the folks I meet than making sure that they and their families have access to quality, affordable health care, and can access affordable prescriptions that aren’t going to break the bank. We've got more work to do on this issue in Washington, but I think it's important to recognize the foresight that folks had in New Hampshire in expanding Medicaid, and making sure that more individuals in our state have access to the kind of coverage that would really be life-changing, and life-saving for tens of thousands of individuals.” Pappas continued on to say, “I can't tell you how many people I meet that are cutting pills in half or rationing doses of life-saving medications, and that just shouldn't be the case… I think at a time when pharmaceutical companies are reaping record profits, as the cost of prescription drugs continues to skyrocket, it’s just unconscionable that there are folks in New Hampshire who are going without and are footing an astronomical bill to get what they need to say safe and healthy.”
Tom Cochran Executive Director Laconia Housing, said “Medicaid is really the backbone to this (program), and all the tools that Medicaid provides going forward essentially gives the quality-of-life enhancement that we all want. Medicaid is right there as a partner with us, with the federal government, with low-income housing as well, it’s an actual essential tool, along with our partners.”
Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Granite State Progress, said “Gap coverage really made a huge difference for families, but we know across the country not every American has access to that because of states that have chosen not to expand Medicaid. Here, not only has it provided that critical healthcare we need, but it also has been a number one tool to combat the opioid crisis and substance abuse disorder.”
Sandra Pratt, Bilingual Service Coordinator at Gateways, said “I want to talk about Medicaid and the inclusion that we need to be making with dental. I think the dental is one step ahead, but we also need to think about vision and hearing.”