CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- State Senate leaders announced a bipartisan deal Thursday to expand Medicaid to an estimated 49,000 poor New Hampshire adults by using federal funds to pay for private insurance.
Senate President Chuck Morse, a Salem Republican, and Senate Democratic Leader Sylvia Larsen of Concord announced the agreement in a presentation before the chamber's Rules Committee. The committee voted unanimously to allow their bill's introduction. They said they expect Gov. Maggie Hassan to support the agreement.
"The bipartisan nature of this agreement shows what can happen when we work together to focus on the issues critical to the well-being of our state," said Morse.
Larsen said the agreement is the culmination of private negotiations since efforts to expand Medicaid failed during a special session in November.
"At the end of the day, this is about expanding coverage for tens of thousands of mostly working, low-income citizens, supporting our providers, helping our state budget, and helping our economy. Our bill will do all of these things," said Larsen.
Morse and Larsen said the agreement's framework, which will be put into legislation next week, would expand access to private health insurance by using an existing state program that subsidizes employer-based insurance and by buying private coverage through the federal marketplace.
Morse said the key was setting a deadline for federal approval of using Medicaid funds to fund private insurance by June 30, 2015.