CONCORD, N.H. – Organizations that provide free or low-cost health care and mental health services across New Hampshire again urged the Legislature on Thursday to approve expanding Medicaid coverage to the state’s poorest adults.

New Hampshire’s current Medicaid program covers low-income children, pregnant women, parents with children, elders and people with disabilities, but the state is deciding whether to expand it to include anyone under age 65 who earns up to 138 percent of federal poverty guidelines, which is about $15,000 for a single adult.

The Democratic-controlled House and Gov. Maggie Hassan back expansion under the federal Affordable Care Act, but the state Senate’s budget panel recently recommended establishing a commission to study the idea instead.

At a news conference Thursday, officials representing community health and mental health centers argued that expanding Medicaid would help thousands of hard-working, low-income adults access primary and preventive care. The Bi-State Primary Care Association and the New Hampshire Behavioral Health Association also emphasized that federal money promised to the state if it expands Medicaid could pay for new jobs in the health care industry.

“We have the chance to bring the greatest statewide economic impact in terms of job creation, income growth and revenue growth than any initiative ever considered by our elected officials, impacting residents of New Hampshire in every county, in every town, in every House and Senate district,” said Tess Kuenning, director of Bi-State Primary Care Association. “New Hampshire has arrived at a health care crossroads. We can choose a path to healthier, more productive population with insurance coverage and access to services, or we can stay on a path to the status quo.”

The two groups represent 27 community health and mental health centers that serve about 170,000 residents each year.

A report commissioned by the state health department estimates that expanding Medicaid would boost enrollment by about 58,000 people by 2020. It estimates that the expansion could cost the state $85 million during that time period, but the state would get $2.5 billion in federal funding.

Expansion opponents, however, don’t trust the federal government’s promise. Speaking on New Hampshire Public Radio on Thursday morning, state Rep. William O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon, argued that expanding Medicaid would be unaffordable and wouldn’t necessarily improve health care outcomes for those who currently lack insurance.

“It’s expanding a broken system,” he said. “Why don’t we just put money out in barrels on Elm Street in Manchester?”