While I oppose Medicaid expansion, I support low-income New Hampshire families having access to affordable health insurance, but in a more effective way. I support a plan that provides access to private health insurance, rather than a government entitlement program. We do this by allowing those making less than 138 percent of the FPL – who would now be Medicaid eligible – access to private health insurance on the federal exchange with premium assistance. This is being done in Arkansas, and is a model that could be modified to meet New Hampshire’s needs. This would allow the Medicaid eligible to maintain insurance coverage through various income levels, rather than have disruption in care.
I also believe that any plan for affordable access to health insurance ensures that everyone have ownership in the cost of health care. Co-pays and deductibles are one way to do this, but wellness programs and work requirements are all options that can help foster personal responsibility while also curbing healthcare costs and improving overall health. Any New Hampshire solution should result in a sense of collective ownership in the cost of healthcare and encourage families to get out of poverty.
Finally, any proposal should sunset after three years, when the 100 percent federal funding coverage for the expansion population expires. Again, I am fundamentally opposed to New Hampshire taxpayers directly paying for the deficit the federal government built into the expansion. This sunset provision would give the state the opportunity to analyze the first three years of the program, determine if the federal government will work to address the funding gap, and see if other ACA provisions adversely affect expansion.
Russell Prescott (R-Kingston)
District 23, State Senate