HRA Comments on HB271 Expanding Medicaid

Democrats’ Medicaid Vote Today Dooms N.H. Taxpayers to Millions in New Expenses
Short-Term Payout Will Cost the State Long Term When Future Legislature Faces Revenue Shortfall
CONCORD, N.H.—With their hands recklessly reaching out for federal tax dollars with no regard for the consequences, New Hampshire House Democrats voted to doom the state to about $100 million per year in additional Medicaid costs starting at the end of the decade, according to Pam Tucker, co-chairman of the N.H. House Republican Alliance (HRA).
“New Hampshire voters should be aware that their State Legislature had an opportunity today to pass HB 271 and prevent millions of dollars of optional state Medicaid costs, but House Democrats couldn’t resist a short-term handout from Washington and voted to kill the bill,” Tucker said. “Because of this, more New Hampshire residents will be stuck with long lines and limited options for medical care under the expanded Medicaid system, and a decreasing number of New Hampshire taxpayers will have to spend more of their hard-earned dollars to cover the cost.”
Written in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that Congress cannot force states to accept major expansions to optional federal programs, HB 271 would have prevented Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion provisions from taking hold in New Hampshire. Because it didn’t pass, about 62,200 more New Hampshire citizens are expected to enroll in Medicaid by 2020, which is the same year the state will have to pay more toward the expanded program that covers everyone who earns up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The expansion is expected to cost New Hampshire $15 million per year leading up to 2020, and then at least $50 million to $100 million per year thereafter.
If the federal government decides to reduce its promised grants for the expanded Medicaid program, as it has for its promised contribution to the special education program, the burden on New Hampshire taxpayers could be even more dramatic. For the special education program, federal contributions have hovered around 15 percent in most years despite the initial promise of 40 percent per year in 1975. Whether the Medicaid money materializes or not; however, N.H. taxpayers will be hit with higher costs of government with no measurable benefit to society at large.
“Perhaps hospitals will make more money as they pass the costs of this Medicaid expansion on to patients who use health insurance, and health insurance firms will benefit by raising their premiums, but don’t let anyone tell you that new Medicaid enrollees will be happy with the result of the Democrats’ vote today,” Tucker said. “Medicaid is a bare-bones medical payer system that is not accepted by some of the state’s providers. The expansion of this government-run program does nothing other than increase the costs of medical care for the meager benefit of a few. Ultimately, the cost of the expansion will destroy opportunities for job creation and stifle the economy.”
Due to political pressure from special interest groups and the dollars involved, it will be difficult for New Hampshire to opt-out of the Medicaid expansion once it is underway, but it will still be legally possible.
“The year 2020 is just around the corner, and New Hampshire already struggles to pay for the entitlement programs we have today,” Tucker said. “The 2014 election could be the last chance New Hampshire voters have of stopping this expense, but they have to be diligent in electing Republicans who will honor their oath to the state and federal constitutions and stand by the principles of limited government and liberty.”