Concord—When the House Finance committee gathered this morning in Concord for a hearing on SB 450, relative to costs and expenditures at the Department of Health and Human Services, they were handed an amendment that, if agreed upon, could result in millions of dollars in new revenue for the state’s General Fund.
Committee member Rep. Fran Wendelboe (r-New Hampton) submitted an amendment this morning that would authorize the board of directors of the New Hampshire Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriting Association (NHMMJUA) to negotiate and enter into a settlement with a class of their policy holders from 1986 to 2009. The agreement would stipulate a transfer to the General Fund one dollar for each three dollars distributed to policy holders, up to a total of $25M. The monies received by the General Fund would then be used for the purpose of supporting programs that promote access to needed health care for underserved persons.
“My intent is for this money to supplant, and not supplement, other state dollars, thereby freeing up the General Fund from needing any new taxes to pay for cost increases at the Department of Health and Human Services,” said Wendelboe. “While this money will be helpful, we must still continue to look at government efficiencies, like combining programs and facilities.”
According to Rep. Wendelboe, since the new revenue is specific for use in the medical area, with federal match dollars it could also, in effect, result in as much as $60M dollars in health care services.
She also reminded the committee that this is just one-time money and that we are still facing at least a half billion dollar deficit in the next budget cycle. “We must work to streamline government now. This is an opportunity to pay part of our health care costs without increasing taxes. It is just a small, but important step,” added Wendelboe.