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Letter

Medicaid plan needs support

To the editor:

Bi-State Primary Care Association and New Hampshire’s Community Health Centers are grateful for the hard work by the Committee of Conference on the budget approved on June 20. We acknowledge the difficult decisions made by the conferees and appreciate the time and effort spent by the Legislature to restore investments in primary and preventive care. The creation of a commission to study the expansion of Medicaid for hardworking New Hampshire residents is a step in the right direction and we hope the Legislature will accept the $2.5 billion in federal funds for the expansion of health care coverage this fall.

The expansion of Medicaid will not only allow greater access to affordable primary and preventive care, it will decrease the uncompensated care provided by health care providers in New Hampshire, including the Community Health Centers. New Hampshire’s Community Health Centers provide primary and preventive care to more than 122,000 Granite Staters, regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. Approximately 80 percent of their patients live at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, and in 2011 alone, New Hampshire’s Community Health Centers provided over $7 million in uncompensated care. The expansion of Medicaid will reduce this burden by increasing access to crucial health care coverage, allowing our citizens to address their primary and preventive care needs in a primary care setting rather than in more costly settings.

Bi-State and the Community Health Centers urge both the Senate and House to support Medicaid expansion to address not only the uncompensated care burden on the Community Health Centers, but more importantly, the health of our underinsured and uninsured.

Bi-State is a non-profit, two-state organization that represents 17 Community Health Centers in New Hampshire and advocates for access to health care for all New Hampshire citizens.

Tess Stack Kuenning

President/CEO

Bi-State Primary Care Association

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