To The Daily Sun,
I have just learned that Senate Republican leaders have walked away from the bargaining table, saying that it's too complicated, that there are "too many moving parts" to figure out a compromise to accept $2.4 billion in federal funding to give 50,000 Granite Staters Medicaid coverage. Governor Hassan has offered a compromise that is 90 percent of the Republican plan, but Senate Republican leaders have refused to budge, or even suggest a counter-proposal. Insuring 50,000 new people will take a strain off our state, and the $2.4 billion in federal funding will be a boost to our economy and create jobs. This could have been a win/win situation demonstrating honest negotiation, free from partisan politics.
When 50,000 plus New Hampshire residents are uninsured or underinsured, those of us with insurance will foot the bill with increasing cost of health care and rising health insurance premiums. Remember how that happened the next time you go to the polls.
Kay M. Anderson
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 November 2013 07:56
To The Daily Sun,
We are all aware that the right-wing of the GOP does not want Medicaid expansion or any part of the ACA. In a column she wrote last week, Sen. Jeanie Forrester introduced the fear of an income tax resulting from N.H. passing Medicaid expansion. This is fear mongering taken directly from the Republican Liberty Alliance and
it has no basis in fact. Several weeks ago at a press conference, Aaron Day, the new chair of the Republican Liberty Alliance, warned Republicans they will have a primary if they vote for Medicaid expansion. The organization's home page has a picture of an empty Senate chamber with a box on the right titled "RINO
(Republican in Name Only) Hunting. "Join the team that's helping to stop Obamacare's Medicaid expansion and prevent a New Hampshire state income tax," is displayed prominently on the group's home page.
Sen. Forrester obviously got the message as her piece last week repeats the threat of an income tax, which is a last minute tactic to play to the worst fear of many in N.H. — an income tax! It seems that Sen. Forrester and her GOP peers are more concerned with putting the fear in NH citizens rather then addressing the fears of the uninsured and needy in our state.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 November 2013 11:35
To The Daily Sun,
NH Governor Maggie Hassan called a special session of the state Legislature. The purpose is to lay the ground-work to bankrupt the state of N.H. The reputation of "no income or sales tax", if she has her way, is dead.
Our representatives and senators have been very busy expanding Medicaid. This is part of the Obamacare train wreck that the Supreme Court said states could NOT be COERCED into!
Supposedly, the federal government will cover 100 percent of the cost of this expansion — with money printed as needed, to cover it. In three years, though, N.H. has to pick up 10 percent of the costs — and can WE print that same money to cover it? No — thus they intend to ram new taxes down our throats!
Can you trust the federal "you can keep your plan and your doctor" government to cover 90 percent of expanded Medicaid? Do you think they won't saying "sorry, we can only cover half (or less), now cough up the difference"? Can you afford to pay your bills, and maybe put up a little savings, if you keep even less in your pay?
Find out who your state senator and representatives are: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/Senate/members/wml.aspx and contact them! Protect N.H. and your paycheck: please tell them TABLE this legislation until the train-wreck that is Obamacare is cleaned up! Call Governor Hassan: (603)271-2121 and tell her "Do Not Expand Medicaid!"
Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 November 2013 10:42
To The Daily Sun,
We in the legislature have been grappling with how to expand health care coverage to low income adults and families during the past year. The bipartisan committee studying the expansion of Medicaid issued its compromise plan a month ago. Governor Hassan and House members worked to make this plan better, and I will be voting to support this plan on Thursday when the House and Senate meet.
The House plan, SSHB-1, will extend health insurance to nearly 60,000 low-income, working Granite Staters without increasing any taxes. It takes full advantage of 100 percent federal funding of Medicaid expansion for three years.
SSHB-1, the House plan will implement The Health Insurance Premium Program (HIPP). Newly-eligible adults with access to employer-sponsored insurance that is cost-effective will keep that insurance. The Department of Health and Human Services will pay the employee's share of this insurance with funds allocated in the Affordable Care Act. The bill requires that this program, HIPP, apply for and obtain a waiver by January 1, 2014 or as soon as possible to ensure coverage for these folks. The Senate plan similarly utilizes HIPP. However, the Senate plan terminates December 31, 2016.
In the House plan, any adult ineligible for the above HIPP, (they have no employer or their employer does not offer adequate health insurance) will select coverage from one of the private managed care organizations (MCO) which have already been contracted to provide benefits under NH's Medicaid program. MCOs will ensure that each enrollee has access to a primary care provider and be linked to a medical home within 60 days of enrollment.
Under House bill, SSHB-1, beginning in January 2017, newly-eligible adults with incomes between 100-138 percent of the federal poverty line, will be required to enroll in the Health Care Marketplace to receive health insurance benefits. Federal funds outlined in the Affordable Care Act will provide premium assistance necessary to purchase these plans.
Lastly, if the federal assistance for the programs outlined above drops below the levels outlined in the Affordable Care Act, the House plan would terminate the program within six months.
The Senate plan for Medicaid expansion requires more complex waivers from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and creates a commission to write the waivers. These waivers are not required to be submitted by the state Department of Human Services until May of 2014. Without these waivers, N.H. will be ineligible for the first year of 100 percent federal funding. The Senate plan repeals Medicaid Expansion fully in December 2016.
When 60,000 plus New Hampshire citizens are uninsured or underinsured, we all pay the price. This is paid in the increasing cost of health care and in rising health insurance premiums paid by those of us with insurance. The Senate plan with its waivers will postpone implementation of Medicaid expansion and then be repealed in three years. It is an unworkable plan — one that I cannot support. I urge you to contact your state senator today, and ask them to compromise with the governor and House to bring together a New Hampshire solution to a challenge that affects us all.
Rep. Suzanne Smith
Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 November 2013 10:36
To The Daily Sun,
We have heard from all the special interests. It's unanimous, the organizations that would receive more of the money that hardworking Americans pay in taxes want Medicaid expansion. Is that a legitimate reason for Medicaid expansion? No.
If someone doesn't have health insurance, is that a reason why taxpayers should have to pay for that person's insurance? No. However, we do provide Medicaid for certain poor people, children, disabled, blind, pregnant women, and low income families.
One question is, what percent of the population should be considered "poor" enough to burden taxpayers? 5 percent? (One in twenty) 10 percent? (One in ten) 33 1/3 percent? (One in three)
More than one out of every 10 New Hampshire residents is already covered by Medicaid. With Medicaid expansion, about one of every seven N.H. residents would be covered... that seems excessive.
A better question is, why add more people to Medicaid when Obamacare subsidizes low income people who buy their own insurance? Private insurance is more widely accepted than Medicaid and patients get better medical results.
The best question is why are we talking about Medicaid expansion when we should be talking about JOBS?
Obamacare, Medicaid expansion, extended unemployment benefits, expanded food stamps, and many other programs are just band aids. They are attempts to cover up the fact that Democrat policies kill jobs, kill opportunities, kill hope, and build dependency on government ... as they have been doing for decades.
Instead of discussing Medicaid expansion, our politicians should be focusing on ending job killing government regulations, eliminating the excess taxes that make businesses invest elsewhere, and implementing policies that reward creating good jobs that would allow Americans to buy the things they need, including health insurance, and want, including a secure and comfortable future.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 November 2013 10:29