Whether N.H. will opt into Medicaid expansion in 2014 and bring 58,000 uninsured working poor into the Medicaid program will be decided in the next two weeks as part of the state operating budget. This is a critical piece of the Affordable Care Act, which will help move us toward universal health care. Most other civilized nations in the world already provide health care coverage for all their citizens and don't limit access to care based on their income; we are just catching up.
The 13-member Republican caucus in the N.H. State Senate is where the stumbling block is right now. Fortunately, some members of the caucus are open to discussing expansion further, as the final state budget is debated. But others are so controlled by ideology — or perhaps by out-of-state conservative campaign funders like the Koch brothers — that they are in shut-down mode. This is unfortunate, for them and for all of us. The fact they are refusing to accept is that we all wind up paying for the uninsured, through uncompensated care at hospitals, community health centers and community mental health centers; and through higher insurance costs.
You can pay now or you can pay later, as the saying goes. We will all be paying a lot later unless N.H. gets with the program and starts addressing the problem of the uninsured. Please contact your state senators and ask them to put aside their partisan dislike of "Obamacare" and do what is best for the citizens of New Hampshire.
Board of Directors
Genesis Behavioral Health