BIA backs N.H. Medicaid expansion

‘The high cost of health insurance is one of the top concerns of business owners throughout New Hampshire,’ says the organization’s president

A little more than a week before state lawmakers make their decision on expanding the Medicaid program to cover more people, the Business and Industry Association has added its voice to supporters of expansion.

The organization’s board voted Tuesday to support expanding Medicaid to individuals who earn 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

Saying “the high cost of health insurance is one of the top concerns of business owners throughout New Hampshire, BIA President Jim Roche said the board’s decision shows it “recognized the connection between the health of a population and the state’s economic prosperity and that regular, preventive care costs less, will lead to less utilization of health care services and ultimately lower health insurance costs for businesses and individuals.”

In a press release, the BIA listed its “guiding principles” behind support for expansion:

 • “It is better for economic prosperity when individuals and families are insured. The uninsured don’t receive appropriate health care services when and where they need them, which ultimately leads to a costlier health care system. Health care providers aren’t reimbursed for treating uninsured patients, which ultimately impacts the amount cost-shifted onto other payers, such as businesses and their employees.”

 • “Any proposal to expand the state’s Medicaid program should demonstrate it will not lead to additional cost-shifting to the business community and will lead to improved access, lower rates of the uninsured and better outcomes.”

 • “An expansion of the state’s Medicaid program should maximize use of the private health insurance market to the extent allowed under federal law and minimize the effect of crowd-out (the number of individuals currently insured through an employer who drop private coverage to choose Medicaid).”

 • “Should federal funding become unavailable or become available at an amount less than previously committed, lawmakers should reevaluate the feasibility of continuing with an expanded Medicaid program.”

 • “Any expansion of the state’s Medicaid program should not place additional financial burden on the business community, such as an increase in business tax rates.”

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