To The Daily Sun,
As a long-time entrepreneur and business owner, I would like to ask the Senate Republicans in Concord why they continue to block the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. The substantial effect of the $2.5 billion (not million) in additional federal aid through the program would provide a critical economic boost to fund new health-related jobs and businesses that serve the state's health care industry.
It's a "win-win" for the recipients of the program, the state and the small businesses that have been paying these employees' health insurance. 58,000 New Hampshire residents are expected to take advantage of this new program by 2020.
Who are these recipients? To name a few, they are the workers who serve you meals in fast-food restaurants, work in the mall's shops, fix your car, cut your hair and provide in-home services for seniors and people with disabilities. They are your neighbors and their family members you come into contact every day in communities across New Hampshire. They work, but their incomes are below $15,400 a year for a single person and $32,000 for a family of four. The burden to provide insurance will no longer fall just upon their small business employers.
The federal government would pay 100 percent of the coverage cost of the Medicaid expansion for the first three years beginning in 2014, ratcheting down to 90 percent of the coverage cost in the 7th year and thereafter. The program is expected to bring more than $2.5 billion in federal investment into New Hampshire with the state providing about $18.4 million in administrative costs over the first seven years, which is less than 1 percent of the overall cost of expansion. The state could also choose to drop out of the program at any time.
Despite the fact that the Chamber of Commerce has come out in favor of Medicare expansion, as well as the state's health care professionals, there are still Republican state senators who are against expansion. They are not sure why they're against it but they know it's part of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act.
In most of the very conservative states, Republican governors have refused Medicaid expansion despite the fact they have the highest rates of residents without health insurance coverage. None of these leaders has shown any concern for their people who are uninsured or denied coverage because of illness. Actually, they want to repeal the Affordable Care Act itself and let insurers go back to cancelling policies at the first sign of a shadow on an x-ray. This leads me to a question for the Republicans in the state Senate "Would you rather cling to an outmoded political ideology that let your neighbors and their family members receive vital health care coverage?"
Hopefully, no one is that heartless.