Yesterday, Gov. Maggie Hassan sent a letter to the Federal Department of Health and Human Services declaring the state’s intent to pursue a federal-state partnership health benefit exchange.
“I do not believe it is in the best interest of our people to allow the federal government to impose a one-size-fits-all exchange on New Hampshire,” she explained.
The state is prevented from establishing its own exchange, where consumers will compare and purchase insurance plans, due to a 2012 state law that prohibits it.
Free Stater and former state Rep. Andrew Manuse was the prime sponsor of that law, House Bill 1297. He was convinced that if all the states ceded their regulatory authority to the federal government, it would lead to repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Today, Manuse admits that his plan is in shambles. Congress is not going to repeal the Affordable Care Act, he concedes. “God help us all:”
Elections have consequences. This partnership exchange will be the absolute worst consequence of electing a Democratic House and governor in 2012.
I fought for four years to kill Obamacare, including two in the House that resulted in the passage of HB 1297 (2012) and the prohibition of a state exchange. This partnership exchange is better than a state exchange, but I fear it will not have the desired effect of forcing the Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare with true free-market reforms….
It saddens me greatly to watch my state go down this road, but the voters have spoken, and they will get what they voted for, God help us all!
Writing in the Portsmouth Herald, former editor Shir Haberman preemptively demonizes state House Democrats for a lack of bipartisanship before the session even begins:
The now Democratic-controlled House should not allow federal control of the health care exchanges through which many will get coverage under Obamacare just because a Democratic president is pushing for it, if the state can do it better. Our representatives should continue to look hard and long at any future attempts by the federal government to insinuate itself into the workings of our state and not simply accept those attempts because the man at the top of the federal pyramid happens to be a Democrat.
This is wrong on so many levels. A Democratic president is not “pushing” for federal control of health care exchanges. In fact, the Affordable Care Act encourages states to create a state-run exchange and provides federal grants to fund the planning and implementation.
Ideologically-driven House Republicans were so opposed to federal health care reform that they passed legislation forbidding the state from implementing a state-based exchange and thereby ceded insurance regulatory authority to the federal government.
House Bill 601 ordered the state Insurance Commissioner to return $666,000 in unused funds from the Exchange Planning grant. House Bill 1297 went further and explicitly prohibited the state from participating in a state exchange.
It is now too late now for New Hampshire to set up a state-based exchange to be operational by January 1, 2014, but the state can still request grant funding and create a state-based exchange in the future.
Perhaps Republicans lawmakers will now heed Haberman’s plea “to find common ground” and will join Democrats to undo the effects of this Republican obstructionism.
One Republican lawmaker, Rep. David Hess, has filed legislation to repeal the ban and establish a state-based exchange. Hess concedes Republicans “got caught up in our own ideological hang-ups last session.”
The New Hampshire Academy of Family Physicians represents the majority of the state’s family doctors. The organization’s president, Dr. Robert Kiefner, wrote a letter to the editor of the Portsmouth Herald this summer explaining the doctors’ support for health care reform:
We have all borne witness to the scenario in which patients have not been able to obtain medical care in a timely manner for lack of insurance. This has not only been the driver for more costly interventions down the road but, tragically, also premature death and disability.
The Affordable Care Act, while an imperfect piece of legislation, will significantly reduce the number of citizens without access to health care and represents true progress toward enhancing the health and financial security of our patients.
In his letter and in an email to state legislators and government officials, Kiefner urged the state to implement an insurance exchange and expand Medicaid in order to “improve access to more reasonably priced insurance alternatives.”
Former state House Speaker Bill O’Brien responded by firing off an angry email accusing the organization (which he mistakenly identified as the New Hampshire Medical Society) of “obstinate stupidity” and of being “driven by hopes of immediate financial gain for its members.”
He posted the message on Facebook:
You use the word bizarre in your letter to describe the efforts of the past legislature to avoid participating in the fiscal debacle that will come out of Washington. The kindest definition of bizarre is unusual. In fact, it is your organization’s position, driven by hopes of immediate financial gain for its members, that seeks to have New Hampshire do the unusual. …
Rather than being yet more supplicants for a greater share of this unsustainable spending and rather than adding to the collective obstinate stupidity that refuses to deal with this reality, why doesn’t your organization instead look at where we are as a country and say, we must stop and you are willing to shoulder your own share of responsibility to do so?
We got caught up in our own ideological hang-ups last session. I can’t see a Republican who would rather see the federal government force-feed us with an off-the-shelf plan that would be used in California.”
— Republican state Rep. David Hess, on legislation passed last session that prohibits New Hampshire from implementing a state-run health insurance exchange. Hess has filed legislation to repeal the ban and establish a state-based exchange.
Hospitals are required to provide care to anyone needing emergency health care regardless of citizenship, legal status or ability to pay. In tonight’s 1st District Congressional debate between Rep. Frank Guinta and Democrat Carol Shea-Porter, Guinta declared “that shouldn’t be the case.”
Giving literal meaning to his state’s “Live Free Or Die” motto, Rep. Frank Guinta (R-NH) was asked at a debate Thursday about a hypothetical 25-year-old who needs treatment in the emergency room but doesn’t have health insurance. Guinta’s said he opposed the requirement that hospitals should have to treat people who come in without insurance. “If you are 25 years old and you are choosing not to purchase insurance with the expectation of trying to get it free from the ER at Memorial,” Guinta said, “that shouldn’t be the case.”
Of course, Guinta also opposes the Affordable Care Act, which addresses this free-rider issue with the individual mandate. When the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, everyone will be required to purchase health insurance. Subsidies will be provided to those who need help with the premiums.
State House Speaker Bill O’Brien has been accused of being a bully, a tyrant and a dictator. Today he lived up to his reputation.
O’Brien today unceremoniously licked Rep. Kathleen Taylor off the committee that will oversee the state’s implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act. Taylor, the Joint Health Care Reform Oversight Committee’s lone House Democrat, was given no reason for her dismissal.
“The Committee will make recommendations for healthcare coverage — or not — for citizens with diabetes, heart disease, mental health and many other issues,” explained Taylor. “It is obvious to me that Speaker O’Brien is working hard to not allow New Hampshire to implement an expansion of Medicaid benefits for our vulnerable citizens.”
“The Speaker has taken an action to limit full public discussion and has removed an experienced voice from the table,” complained House Democratic Leader Terie Norelli. “Once again the Speaker has demonstrated that he will not tolerate viewpoints that differ from his own opinion and he dismisses the representative voice of a significant segment of New Hampshire voters.”
“I’m sure voters will remember this Speaker’s actions when casting their votes in November,” Norelli warned.
Just before the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, Gov. John Lynch signed legislation prohibiting the state from implementing one of its key provisions, a state health care exchange. Writing in the Portsmouth Herald, Executive Council candidate Bill Duncan says it’s not too late to reverse course.
There would be great advantages to setting up our own exchange to serve the needs of our own citizens. Most importantly, New Hampshire could have regulatory control over the insurance plans offered through the exchange. Our insurance commissioner could regulate benefit levels and eligibility. We could establish our own health care priorities, such as reforming how payments are made or development of “medical homes” and accountable care organizations.
But the Executive Council and Legislature have opted out of creating our own strategies and priorities. The result will be confusion for New Hampshire citizens, some purchasing insurance from the federal exchange and others purchasing insurance regulated by the state. We will have a jumble of differing policies for individuals and small businesses purchasing insurance.
New Hampshire is one of only three states to take this radical position. There is an opportunity to turn this around. The Obama administration has expressed a willingness to work with states like New Hampshire that have rejected participation so far, but change their policies to make the most of the Affordable Care Act. We should elect Executive Councilors and Legislators who will commit to doing that.
Mike Malzone, former Merrimack Town Councilor, is angry that the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act — and he doesn’t care who knows it.
In a profanity-laced tirade first reported on Merrimack Patch, the founder of the Merrimack Tea Party wrote that he hopes the five Supreme Court justices who voted to uphold the law “get colon cancer, and then get mercer [staph infection] after their treatment.”
Malzone complained that now he will “have to buy fucking health insurance for the illegals that Obama let in the other day.” And he had a parting message for all 535 members of Congress, the President and the Supreme Court: “Fuck you with no apology.”
Americans for Prosperity, the Koch-funded free market advocacy group, is blanketing New Hampshire with robocalls soliciting support. The calls are part of a national $9 million campaign targeting President Obama and his health care legislation following the Supreme Court decision upholding the law.
You’ve heard about the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the new health care law. Here in the “Live Free or Die” state, we don’t like the government telling us what we must do. That’s why I’m asking you to join Americans for Prosperity to stand up and fight against legislation like the health care take over. Americans for Prosperity is organizing New Hampshire citizens that are willing to stand up and fight for economic freedom.
Press one now to join the fight against this disastrous health care. American for Prosperity can be reached at 603-894-5881
While pundits debate the political implications of the Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act, the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute focuses on the benefits for New Hampshire residents, who will have access to more affordable health care and will be protected from insurance company abuses.
The estimated 665,000 New Hampshire residents with private health insurance coverage will not have to worry about exhausting lifetime limits.
The estimated 8,330 young adults under age 26 in New Hampshire who gained coverage under this provision in 2010 and 2011 will be able stay on their parents’ health plan until they are age 26.
An estimated 19,600 New Hampshire businesses — constituting 80 percent of small businesses in New Hampshire — will continue to access tax credits that have been helping them pay for up to 35 percent of the costs of their workers’ health insurance.
The 163,746 Medicare beneficiaries in New Hampshire who receive free preventive services — such as mammograms and colonoscopies — or who are entitled to a free wellness visit with their doctor will continue to enjoy such benefits.
Uninsured New Hampshire households will receive financial help, ranging from $2,626 to $6,337 per family, in purchasing health care. Families with insurance are expected to see their premiums fall by $873 on average by 2019.
The New Hampshire High Risk Pool, which has paid more than $25 million in claims for New Hampshire participants, will continue to provide seriously ill patients with health insurance coverage.
Insurance companies will be required to spend at least 80 percent of premium dollars on health care costs or to pay rebates to their customers each year. This year’s rebates will total $1.1 billion nationally.
I suppose we should thank Kelly Ayotte for the small part she played in today’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act.
The Court ruled that the overall Act is constitutional — despite finding that one section involving Medicaid expansion isn’t. Justice Ginsburg explained that ruling by citing the decision from a New Hampshire parental notification case that was argued by then-Attorney General Kelly Ayotte.
Ayotte brags that she fought Planned Parenthood all the way to the Supreme Court to protect the state’s parental notification law. What she generally doesn’t tell you is that she lost the case and the state had to pay Planned Parenthood’s legal fees as a result.
The state of New Hampshire must reimburse Planned Parenthood of New England for a lawsuit, in which the group challenged the state’s 2003 parental notification law, a federal judge has ruled. In his ruling last week, DeClerico said PPNNE effectively won the suit and deserved to be reimbursed a “reasonable award of legal fees and costs.”