New Hampshire has a history of leading the way in redesigning the policy failures of Washington D.C. into a Granite State success. The most recent example is how we’ve evolved Medicaid expansion into the Granite Advantage Health Care program. What may have been a D.C. disaster is now a fiscally conservative program, lowering costs for everyone in New Hampshire and holding Washington accountable.
When the idea of bringing Medicaid expansion to our Granite State was first suggested there was immediate pushback citing long-term concerns surrounding the financial implications. Folks worried that over time the federal government would cut off the 90 percent funding it promised. So the legislature did what New Hampshire does best. It took a hard look at the program, kept what worked, cut what didn’t, and made thoughtful additions. At the end of that process, we were left with what’s today’s incredibly successful Granite Advantage Program.
One of the most important additions to the policy was an escape clause in case the federal funding portion was cut or ceased altogether, in which case the program would immediately end. We also secured dedicated funding sources so that New Hampshire taxpayers would be protected. Those adjustments made the program effective for the state and eliminated the financial risk for Granite Staters.
Since its adoption, the program has been evaluated and reauthorized every few years to ensure it continues to work properly. The program is designed to benefit not only those low-income adults who are accessing health coverage through federal Medicare funds, but also by lowering costs for New Hampshire patients with traditional insurance. Since implementation, insurance rates in New Hampshire have dropped in the individual market. Our state now has the lowest individual benchmark rate in the entire nation according to the Urban Institute and Robert Woods Johnson Foundation.
Regarding our hospitals, they’ve witnessed a decrease in uncompensated care attributed to uninsured patients, from $173 million in 2014 to $69 million in 2021. They’ve also seen a 63 percent reported reduction in the number of uninsured inpatient admissions, and a 41 percent reduction in uninsured outpatient visits. This is an incredible feat because hospitals have an obligation to treat every patient, regardless of their ability to pay for the services rendered. This financial stress on hospitals gets passed on to the private insurance system, creating a hidden tax on the insured.
The Granite Advantage program alleviates that strain by expanding insurance coverage for our low-income families, and it has proven to lower costs for everyone. It’s a fiscally responsible alternative to the generic Medicaid expansion seen in other states, and unlike their programs, ours has the solid economic foundation to last.
There’s a reason why so many Republican leaders are uniting in support of this program. It’s been vetted, reviewed, and proven to be successful. The same Republican leadership that’s delivered fiscally sound budgets year after year has done its due diligence to serve you in creating what will undoubtedly be another success story for our Granite State.