Voting strictly along party lines, the GOP controlled New Hampshire Senate today voted 13 to 11 to reject the expansion of Medicaid under the terms of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The vote sets up a conflict in a House-Senate Committee of Conference that could start as early as next week.
Expanded Medicaid would provide insurance coverage to an estimated 58,000 New Hampshire residents, paid for 100% by federal dollars for the first three years.
The Senate also approved a budget that makes $50 million in unspecified personnel cuts that could lead to hundreds of layoffs. This, too, could be altered by the conference committee.
On their way into today’s session, the Senators had to wade through dozens of pro-worker and pro-Medicaid activists to get into their chamber. NH Voices for Health, which brings together health care providers and advocates, has been working hard to rally support for expanded Medicaid. The State Employees Association will lead efforts to stop the personnel cuts, which would not only hurt workers and their families but also reduce the quality of services offered to state residents.
The effort will escalate over the next few weeks as Representatives and Senators continue the budget debate, perhaps right up to the June 30 end of the fiscal year.