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More than 1,200 missing in the California wildfires. Also on the Monday rundown: A pair of reports on gun violence in the nation; and concerns that proposed changes to 'Green Card' rules favor the wealthy.

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Provision Puts Thousands at Risk of Losing Coverage

A sunset provision in New Hampshire could mean as many as 38,000 Granite State residents could lose health coverage, despite the U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding subsidies for insurance purchased under the Affordable Care Act. Credit: New Hampshire Health Protection Plan.
A sunset provision in New Hampshire could mean as many as 38,000 Granite State residents could lose health coverage, despite the U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding subsidies for insurance purchased under the Affordable Care Act. Credit: New Hampshire Health Protection Plan.
July 9, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. – Tens of thousands of Granite State residents are at risk of losing health coverage, despite last month's Supreme Court ruling in favor of subsidies for those purchasing insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Jill Johnson Bardsley with the New Hampshire Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers says lawmakers put a sunset provision in a state law concerning Medicaid insurance, which could bring expanded Medicaid coverage to a "screeching halt" as early as next year.

"We will lose at least 38,000 Granite Staters that now presently have insurance," she says. "And it will cost the state money, because we will not get those huge matching funds from the feds."

Governor Maggie Hassen vetoed the state budget last month because she said it made false promises as to what it could deliver taxpayers, while giving sizable tax breaks to big business. Bardsley says she hopes Hassen will call back lawmakers in the near future, and that the Medicaid issue will be on the table.

In just the first six months of operation, Bardsley says the number of residents taking advantage of coverage under the New Hampshire Health Protection Plan (NHHPP) has far exceeded expectations.

"The hospitals are just thrilled with the way this is going for the state," she says. "E.R. visits have been down, outpatient visits have been up, access to services, and their uncompensated care costs have been doing down tons."

Bardsley says New Hampshire is one of the most expensive private health insurance markets in the nation, but insurance subsidies help make premiums affordable. She says in-patient admissions of people without insurance dropped by 27 percent this year.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH