NH House, Senate leaders urge congressional delegation to obtain approval for NHHPP work requirements

Concord, NH – Today, House and Senate leaders called on New Hampshire’s congressional delegation to support the waiver application, including the work requirement provisions outlined in HB 1696 signed into law yesterday, that is being prepared by the State’s Department of Health and Human Services

“By including work requirements in a bill that passed by a large margin in both the House and Senate, and became law just yesterday, it is clear that the legislature supports this personal responsibility measure and will work to ensure that those receiving benefits as part of the New Hampshire Health Protection Plan [NHHPP] who can work, should work in order to continue receiving benefits,” said Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley.  “We ask our congressional delegation to lead the fight in Washington to help New Hampshire obtain approval from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services [CMS] to be the pilot program for a reasonable, responsible work requirement program as part of the NHHPP in our state.”

“In New Hampshire, we take our ‘First in the Nation’ status very seriously when it comes to presidential elections, and the nation looks to us for direction on who is a viable leader for our country, and what policies are pragmatic and can move our nation forward,” said House Speaker Shawn Jasper (R-Hudson). “This status shouldn’t be limited to picking candidates. We are positioned to lead in this very important policy area. The people of New Hampshire support implementation of work requirements in order to receive benefits, and our representatives in Washington have a fiduciary duty to do what they can to make sure the state is authorized to carry forward this important program as intended by language in HB 1696.”

“We believe with the proper advocacy in Washington, we will be better positioned for our program to receive a green light. The people of New Hampshire and their elected leaders in Concord need our congressional delegation to take the ball and run with it,” said House Majority Leader Richard Hinch (R-Merrimack). “We ask Senators Ayotte and Shaheen, and Representatives Guinta and Kuster to join us in our endeavor to implement this reasonable personal responsibility measure into a program benefiting almost 50,000 low income citizens.”

Background: HB 1696, requesting a modification of the New Hampshire Health Protection Program passed the State Senate on March 31 by a 16-8 vote after passing the House by a 216-145 vote on March 9. The bill aims to extend the New Hampshire Health Protection Plan through December of 2017 utilizing federal Medicaid expansion funds, with in-state hospitals and insurance carriers picking up the balance of the cost of care. As a result, HB 1696 contains no new taxes or fees, and does not utilize any state general funds.

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) has yet to approve work requirement programs from other states, and has not publically indicated a position or likely outcome on the New Hampshire waiver application.