July 3, 2020 Update

As of June 30, the House and Senate have passed their bills and now have sent them over to the Governor for either his signature or his veto. Because of the nature of the process, it could be several weeks before we find out whether HB 250 (Dental Care) and HB 1162 (ESS payments) are approved.

June 17, 2020 Update

After a very quiet three months, things have started to roll at the State House.

The House met last week at the University of New Hampshire (to practice safe distancing). It was necessary to vote for an extension for the House so they could work on the remaining House bills. The vote needed a two-thirds majority and it didn’t happen. (The House would have been finished their work earlier and it needed a vote to extend their timeline so they could continue work on their bills). This “no” vote did not allow the extension.

The Senate met at the State House to work on their bills, which then will go to the House to be voted on, as an accept or reject vote. The House meets on June 30 to vote on the Senate’s bills.

What’s interesting is that because there were so many bills left, it was decided to clump together bills based on subject matter, e.g., health care, criminal justice and education. Even so, there were still almost 200 to consider after combining them into what is called “omnibus measures”.

The Senators met in the Representatives Hall to allow for social distancing. Normally, they are required to stand to speak, but each Senator had their own wooden desks with microphones, hand sanitizer, snacks and masks.

Most bills passed along party lines (the Democrats hold a 14-10 majority), but there was bipartisan support for many. Of note, the bill passed related to the continuation of tele-health permanently and would require insurers to cover them.

The Senate passed HB 250, which establishes a dental benefit under the State Medicaid program, providing dental coverage for over 90,000 adults currently enrolled in traditional and expanded Medicaid. “This is not only a public health measure, but also a long term cost saver,” said Senator Cindy Rosenwald, who sponsored the bill.

HB 1162 is an omnibus bill, which includes “the elimination of copayments and deductibles for Early Supports and Services (ESS) reimbursed to providers by fully insured health plans administered by private health insurance carriers such as: Anthem, Harvard Pilgrim, Tufts, Ambetter, United Health Care, etc.” NOTE: “This bill does not impact self-funded plans or health saving accounts with a qualified high-deductible health plan.” -- quoted from the NH Senate press release.

More information will be forthcoming after the House meets on June 30.

Please call (603-313-8693) or email me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) with questions or more information.

Thank you.

Your Legislative Liaison,
Marylouise Alther

 

May 29, 2020 Update

The NH Legislature will be reconvening on June 9, for the Senate, which will meet in Representative Hall in Concord. The House will meet on June 11 at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. This is so people can meet with safety protocols in place.

The Legislature's goal is to deal with the leftover bills (around 730). It gets a little complicated because technically the House should be finished, so they have to change the rules which would allow them to extend the deadline. The Senate does not have such a deadline. Some House representatives aren’t in agreement. The House needs a two-thirds majority of attendees for the extension to pass. I’ll have more information about this situation after
June 11.

Some of the committees have been meeting via zoom and have tried to prioritize the bills. The Senate has had a few remote public hearings, but on minor bills. At this point, no bills have been passed since the House and Senate stop meeting.

The DD waiver is up for renewal. There have been a few public listening sessions. If more, I will let everyone know.

At our Legislative Liaison meeting yesterday (via zoom), there was discussion about the increased needs of many families. Food is especially an issue.
People's budgets are not keeping up with the cost of living. These were more personal comments, as well as frustrations from their families.

The election in NH will go on as expected. How will we vote - drive by or mail in? How will this be handled? I will update everyone as this gets discussed and information becomes available.

My thanks go out to all MDS employees.

Please stay safe and enjoy the outdoors as much as possible.

COVID-19 RESOURCES

Questions about COVID-19?  CALL 2-1-1 
Phone: 1-866-444-4211   TTY: 603-634-3388

State of NH COVID-19

Centers for Disease Control COVID-19

Face Masks per NH Public Health/DHHS

City of Keene CV Response Site

Cheshire Medical Center CV Site

Monadnock Hospital CV Site

Dartmouth-Hitchcock CV Site

How to Use Zoom Safely

Relias: CV Free Resources & Training for Healthcare Professionals, Families and Individuals

Other Resources

Family Support Resources

Disability Benefits Resources

Employment Resources

Transportation Resources

Housing Resources

NH Family Voices Maneuvering Through the Maze Resource Guide (updated January 2019)
Statewide guide to resources for people with physical, developmental, mental health and chronic health conditions and their families.

Keene Rotary Family Resource Guide (Cheshire County)

The River Center’s FACT Book Online
Local community resource guide for those living in the eastern Monadnock Region.