The budget introduced this week by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives slashes $7.2 billion in federal funding for Medicaid, Medicare, and other health coverage programs in New Hampshire over the next 10 years, with $4.8 billion cut from Medicaid alone, according to an analysis released today by the consumer health group Families USA.

These cutbacks will have a disproportionate impact on New Hampshire's seniors. The Medicaid program is the largest payer of long-term care, including half of all nursing home costs. Medicare provides health coverage for seniors over 65 years of age.

The Medicaid cuts will also have an adverse impact on New Hampshire's children. There are 86,900 low-income children in the state who depend on Medicaid for their health care.

"The proposed House Republican health care cuts will have a devastating impact on New Hampshire's seniors and children," said Ron Pollack, Families USA's Executive Director. "They will keep frail seniors from getting needed nursing home and long-term care, and they will cause many children to lose their access to health care."

Medicaid cuts in New Hampshire result from two major changes in the House Republican budget: (1) converting the current program into a block grant with severe cuts of $2.8 billion to federal funds provided to the state; and (2) eliminating the program's scheduled coverage expansion to the uninsured under the Affordable Care Act (a cut of nearly $2 billion).

The House Republican budget also substantially increases income taxes for middle-income families. It does so by eliminating tax credits, scheduled to go into effect in 2014, designed to help middle-class families pay for health insurance. For example, a family of four with about $45,000 in annual income and monthly health insurance premiums of $1,100 would lose an annual tax credit of nearly $10,400.

Among the findings in the Families USA report applicable to New Hampshire are the following:

- There are 14,700 seniors in New Hampshire who rely on Medicaid to pay for services Medicare does not cover, like long-term care-and these are the people most vulnerable to the House Republicans' Medicaid cuts.

- In 2021 alone, the state's block grant Medicaid cuts could provide health coverage for 122,800 low-income children in New Hampshire.

- Also in 2021, the state's block grant Medicaid cuts in that year alone could provide health coverage for 18,900 seniors in New Hampshire.

- The House Republican budget strips away new coverage options and subsidies that would reduce the number of uninsured in New Hampshire by 95,000 in 2021.

The Families USA analysis does not include the huge Medicare cuts that become effective in 2022-cuts that are derived by transforming the program to a privatized voucher program.

"At the same time that House Republicans are extending huge tax cuts for America's richest people," said Pollack, "they are cutting back needed health care for New Hampshire's seniors and low-income children and raising taxes on the middle class. This makes no sense and reflects cruel and misplaced ideological priorities."

Families USA

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