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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

GOP pair pushing to save Medicaid funds

CONCORD – Gov. John Lynch’s predecessor as governor and his 2010 Republican opponent backed New Hampshire’s effort to keep from losing $35 million in federal Medicaid money.

Health and Human Services Commissioner Nick Toumpas asked an Obama administration board to reconsider its decision that reduces federal health care payments to New Hampshire going back to 2004.

Former Gov. Craig Benson and 2010 GOP nominee for governor John Stephen submitted statements supporting the Lynch administration’s request.

Benson contends then U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson agreed in 2005 that NH would get these payments as part of a “global” settlement.

Under the deal, New Hampshire would agree going forward to change its legal, provider tax scheme that New Hampshire and many states had used to maximize federal Medicaid reimbursements.

Back then, Stephen was state HHS commissioner and he accompanied Benson on some trips to Washington to lobby Bush administration officials on this matter.

Legislative leaders don’t hold out much hope of winning this last ditch request.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday is expected to formally introduce legislation that would come up with spending cuts to cope with the $35 million loss in aid.

– KEVIN LANDRIGAN