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About NH Labor News

The New Hampshire Labor News is a group of NH Workers who believe that we need to protect ourselves against the attacks on workers. We are proud union members who are working to preserve the middle class. The NHLN talks mostly about news and politics from NH. We also talk about national issues that effect working men and women here in the Granite State.

NH Labor News 6/30/12: Election Coverage, NH Immigration Problem, Keep Students Here, and more

Political Humor

NH doesn’t have immigration issue – NashuaTelegraph.com: “O’Brien told the New Hampshire Union Leader that New Hampshire especially needs such a law because it’s a border state, as is Arizona. He said the high-court decision gives the state “a road map” to Arizona-type legislation here.
Yes, the Granite State shares a 58-mile boundary with Canada, but at no time in memory has there been any proof that the border is porous and that New Hampshire is consequently burdened with illegal immigrant populations.”


David Shribman: Romney, Obama both confident of winning NH » Opinion » SalemNews.com, Salem, MA: “CHOCORUA, N.H. — And you thought the presidential politics story in New Hampshire ended six months ago.

That was only the frontispiece, an evocative landscape like the famous one — silvery lake, soaring mountain, still one of the most stunning roadside attractions in this state — that the artist Thomas Cole painted here in 1827. It turns out there will be far more to the Granite State political story than even Mitt Romney, winner of the Republican primary in January, could have contemplated.

These days, Romney, who served as governor in the neighboring state of Massachusetts and has a lakeside vacation house in Wolfeboro, a pleasant 40-minute drive from here, is running hard in New Hampshire again. So is Barack Obama, who took the state four Novembers ago.”


Tea Party Sees Ruling As New Rallying Cry | New Hampshire Public Radio: “Some of the earliest and most vocal opponents of President Obama’s health care law were members of the Tea Party. In fact, health care quickly became the issue fueling the rise of the movement.

Anger over the Affordable Care Act drove the Tea Party and Republicans to big gains in the 2010 elections, but since then the movement has seen its prominence and influence wane.

Now, Tea Party activists say the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the law will reignite that original passion in time for this fall’s election.”


Grants aim to keep NH students in work force | New Hampshire NEWS02: “The new Stay Work Play Challenge Grant incentive program helps address this directly by showcasing New Hampshire employers who agree to contribute $8,000 to pay down college loans of newly hired graduates over the first four years of employment.

“The most essential business challenge is attracting and retaining the best talent,” said Gray Chynoweth, chief operating office at Dyn. “Typically New Hampshire businesses are put at a disadvantage because of the generally lower wages as opposed to metropolitan areas and the large amount of debt New Hampshire students tend to come out of school with. This program helps New Hampshire businesses compete for talent. Companies that don’t take advantage of this are missing a real opportunity.””


Republican Led House Refuses to Take Up Call Center Bill | Communications Workers of America: “Ron Collins, CWA’s Chief of Staff, said, “The House of Representatives faced a stark choice — side with American consumers’ security while revitalizing the job prospects of thousands of American workers or side with corporate America that is all too content to ship jobs overseas at any cost. It’s not surprising that today’s result broke along party lines and that most House Republicans sided with corporations like Bank of America, T-Mobile USA and Wells Fargo ahead of the best interests of the American public.”

The final vote was 238-178 against consideration of the bill. Joining the bill’s supporters was Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) Democrats who opposed the bill are Jason Altmire, Pa.; Dan Boren, Okla.; Jim Matheson, Utah; Kurt Schrader, Ore.; and Heath Shuler, N.C.

Seven Republicans and eight Democrats did not vote, including: Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.), Andre Carson (D-Ind.), Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), Tim Griffin (R-Ark.), Tim Holden (D-Pa.), Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), Jesse Jackson Jr., (D-Ill.), Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), and C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.).

“Now we have a recorded vote on this critical issue, and we know who chose to stand with U.S. workers over corporations that offshore our jobs. Our members will take this into account in the fall elections,” said Shane Larson, CWA Legislative Director.”

NH Labor 2012 Elections News 6/28/12: Bain In The North Country, Obamacare V. Romney, Setting Guinta Straight, and more

 

 

From AFL-CIO

Supreme Court gives state a choice | Concord Monitor: “Within minutes, Republicans, from Mitt Romney and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on down to New Hampshire gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne and House Speaker Bill O’Brien, announced their intent to repeal the law.

Health care will now vie with the economy as the top issue in the 2012 elections. Unless Romney becomes president, Republicans retain control of the House and win at least 60 seats in the Senate, any repeal effort will fail. It will also fail if more Americans come to understand that their lives will be more secure and their health care ultimately better and cheaper thanks to the reforms.”


N.H. Democrats applaud health-care ruling, GOP bemoans it » New Hampshire » EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA: “Predictably, the reactions in New Hampshire were split along party lines.

The two GOP gubernatorial candidates may both have been disappointed, but Ovide Lamontagne trended more to the right in his response.

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is truly a disappointment and represents an infringement on the freedoms and liberty of every citizen in New Hampshire, and throughout our country,” he said. “The court ruling opens the door for continued federal intrusion into the lives of every American …””


New Hampshire Labor News | NH GOV: Jackie Cilley Comments on the US Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act: ““Today’s Supreme Court decision puts behind us the hysterical claims of the far-right and allows us to get to work making sure that the Affordable Care Act works for everyone in New Hampshire,” said Jackie Cilley. “As governor, I’m confident that I’ll be able to work with the legislature and our representatives in DC to make sure that all the ACA reforms, including Medicaid expansion, serve the citizens of New Hampshire.””


TheDartmouth.com: New Hampshire will remain key election state: “While the national political scene is buzzing about yesterday’s Supreme Court decision on the individual mandate in U.S. President Barack Obama’s health care law, New Hampshire itself is no stranger to a flurry of political activity. The historically contentious swing state continues to be a leading battleground for the upcoming presidential election, according to political analyses and major publications.
“New Hampshire is an important state every year with a lot of national attention,” Scott Tranchemontagne, spokesperson for Rep. Charlie Bass ’74, R-N.H., said. “It’s interesting because within the state, voters can be very easily split between Independents, Republicans and Democrats.””


Politico: GOP Poised to Win Races for Governor in NC, Washington, NH: “Republicans are in great shape to win November’s gubernatorial races in North Carolina, Washington, and New Hampshire, according to a Politico election analysis. The news service looks at the seven closest races in the country – Missouri, Indiana, West Virginia, and Montana in addition to the three above. “In six of the seven races, the Democrats are on defense,” Politico states. That includes all but West Virginia. Here’s how Politico sees North Carolina, Washington, and New Hampshire

The Republican front-runner Ovide Lamontagne is proving to be a fundraising juggernaut, besting not just his primary opponent Kevin Smith, but also the combined total of Democratic candidates Maggie Hassan and Jackie Cilley. The 55-year-old Lamontagne is making an issue of the 34-year-old Smith’s age. Lamontagne leads in polls for both the primary and general elections.”


Bain Capital casualty speaks locally against Romney: “GORHAM — An Indiana man who says his former employer fell victim to a Mitt Romney led Bain Capital toured the North Country on Wednesday on behalf of the Obama re-election campaign. Randy Johnson, a worker laid-off by Bain Capital from his job at American Pad and Paper (Ampad) in Marion, Indiana, in the mid-1990s, shared his personal take on Romney-economics in Littleton, Gorham, Conway, Laconia and Plymouth.

Meeting with a small crowd at the Gorham Public Library on June 27, Johnson explained why he believed it was important to tell his story. The small group of just under a dozen people listened as John son related his tale, outlining the corporate takeover, changes in leadership that included installing Bain directors on the Ampad board of directors while keeping the companies separate, and then the downsizing that followed. He said that even after the downsizing, when Ampad was making a profit, Bain — as a separate entity — charged so many fees to the company for services it was providing and mismanaged the assets in such a way as to accumulate substantial debt on behalf of Ampad. The company eventually went bankrupt and the people all lost their jobs. “It was a plan to bankrupt that company and make big profits,” Johnson asserted, alleging that while his coworkers found themselves unemployed, Romney as CEO had made $100 million for his investors on stock offering while running up $400 million in debt to bankrupt Ampad. “That’s the kind of investment Bain Capital did,” he said.”


The Real Winners – NYTimes.com: “In short, unless you belong to that tiny class of wealthy Americans who are insulated and isolated from the realities of most people’s lives, the winners from that Supreme Court decision are your friends, your relatives, the people you work with — and, very likely, you. For almost all of us stand to benefit from making America a kinder and more decent society.

But what about the cost? Put it this way: the budget office’s estimate of the cost over the next decade of Obamacare’s “coverage provisions” — basically, the subsidies needed to make insurance affordable for all — is about only a third of the cost of the tax cuts, overwhelmingly favoring the wealthy, that Mitt Romney is proposing over the same period. True, Mr. Romney says that he would offset that cost, but he has failed to provide any plausible explanation of how he’d do that. The Affordable Care Act, by contrast, is fully paid for, with an explicit combination of tax increases and spending cuts elsewhere.”


Polls: Tight races in North Carolina and New Hampshire; Michigan emerging as GOP target – The Washington Post: “President Obama and Mitt Romney are locked in tight races in three key states — Michigan, New Hampshire and North Carolina — according to new polling from NBC News and Marist College.

The three state-specific polls show Obama and Romney tied at 45 percent in New Hampshire, with Obama holding a small lead in the other two states. He leads 47 percent to 43 percent in Michigan and 46 percent to 44 percent in North Carolina.

The New Hampshire poll suggests Romney would gain nothing in the state if he selects the state’s junior senator, Kelly Ayotte, as his running mate. He trails 45 percent to 43 percent in a matchup that includes Ayotte and Vice President Joe Biden on their respective tickets.”


Facts expose Guinta on red-tape mantra – NashuaTelegraph.com: “n his recent e-newsletter, he claims that “onerous federal regulation” stifles economic growth and job creation “all too often.” To showcase his tale, he hosted a so-called “Red Tape Forum” in Manchester.
It’s a nice story. But the Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps records that clearly reveal the culprit in layoff events and separations – business demand.
Regulation caused less than half of 1 percent of job losses (2008-10), while low business demand caused 34.1 percent (2008), 39.1 percent (2009) and 30.6 percent (2010), according to the bureau.
Sixty-one economists surveyed by the Wall St. Journal in July 2011 blamed weak hiring on lack of demand.”

AFT-NH RETIREMENT UPDATE—WHERE WE ARE!


AFT-NH
RETIREMENT UPDATE—WHERE WE ARE!

JUNE 29, 2012

Below is where we stand on the legislative attacks on your pension. Sixteen (16) bills were filed but only four (4) became law. There were sweeping changes proposed but we were able to come through this session with pushing back on the major changes proposed. This was in large part due to your consistent efforts in contacting your legislators.  Thank you for your great work this session!

However, we are still battling changes from last year’s session in the Courts with our partners on the New Hampshire Retirement Security Coalition and we will keep you informed as to any developments on the legal front.  The wheels of justice grind slowly.

Please keep in mind that all of these bills will come back if we are not vigilant and know where the candidates stand on protecting your pension.

Ask the following questions when speaking with candidates between now and November:

  • Do they support and would they vote to provide an annual COLA (cost of living adjustment) for retirees of the NH Retirement system?
  • Would they vote to retain the current structure of the NH Retirement System as a defined benefit program as opposed to a defined contribution (401-k type) plan?
  • Would they oppose any legislation that changes or reduce current benefits for public employees’ in the NH Retirement system?

Keep in mind that AFT-NH supports efforts to maintain a defined benefit pension provided by the New Hampshire Retirement System for retired public employees and to ensure the long-term viability of the plan for current and future public employees.  These benefits are essential tools for recruiting and retaining a skilled and qualified workforce—educators, police, fire fighters, and other essential public servants—to provide vital services in the citizens of New Hampshire.

We are committed to working with others and to return common sense to the current debate on restoring the financial footing of the retirement system.  The retirement system is not in crisis and a deliberative, factual and data driven approach must be used when exploring how to adequately fund and maintain the NHRS for retirees, current employees and future public servants.

HERE IS A SUMMARY OF THE RETIREMENT BILLS THAT BECAME LAW

SB230 -FN Title: relative to the calculation of average final compensation for certain retirement system members.

The New Hampshire Retirement System states this bill includes a technical correction to the definition of average final compensation. The clarification relates to members who were hired on or after July 1, 2011 and members who were not vested prior to January 1, 2012. The System states as this bill only clarifies changes made in the 2011 session, there will be no fiscal impact.

This bill modifies RSA 100-A:1, XVIII(b) to reflect the intent of the 2011 Legislature regarding the calculation of Average Final Compensation (AFC) for members not vested prior to Jan. 1, 2012. The bill changes the “compensation over base pay” factor used in the AFC formula from a dollar average to a percentage average.

SB244 -FN Title: relative to the administration of the New Hampshire retirement system.

This bill amends various sections of RSA 100-A, including several technical corrections related to changes enacted in House Bill 2. These corrections are:

 

  • Clarifies the date from which NHRS must begin calculating a 7-year average of Extra or Special Duty Pay (ESDP) for Group II (Police and Fire) members vested prior to Jan. 1, 2012. This change excludes from the calculation any months prior to July 1, 2009, which is when ESDP began to be separately reported to NHRS.
  • Clarifies the number of years of creditable service Group II (Police and Fire) members in service prior to July 1, 2011, but not vested prior to Jan. 1, 2012, must have in order to qualify for the supplemental disability benefit available to eligible Accidental Disability retirees.
  • Changes the annual effective date of changes to the member interest rate from a fiscal year to a calendar year.
  • Clarifies the definition of “compensation over base pay” for members not vested prior to Jan. 1, 2012.
  • Clarifies that the maximum benefit limit for members hired before July 1, 2009, is 100% of Earnable Compensation and the maximum benefit limit for members hired after that date, and not vested by Jan. 1, 2012, is the lesser of 85% of AFC or $120,000 per year.
  • In addition the bill modifies the definition of “part-time” for NHRS retirees employed by NHRS-participating employers. The modification limits retirees to a maximum total of 32 hours per week, regardless of whether they work for one or more employers and regardless of whether some of the hours are in a Group I position and some of the hours are in a Group II position.
  • Lastly, the bill changes the date by which NHRS Trustees must approve the retirement system’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report from Dec.1 to Dec. 31 of each year.

HB1483 -FN Title: (New Title) repealing the retirement system special account and repealing the assessments for excess benefits paid by employers in the retirement system.

This bill repeals the NHRS Special Account and removes all references to the Special Account contained in RSA 100-A. The specific sections repealed are: RSA 100-A:53, II; RSA 100-A:53-e, II; RSA 100-A:16, II(h); and RSA 100-A:16, II(j). Due to previous legislation enacted in 2011, the Special Account balance would have been $0 as of July 1, 2012.

  • Keep in mind that AFT-NH opposed the repeal of the special account. Remember, this is where COLA’s have come from in the past.  With the repeal of this account, there will be no mechanism to grant COLA’s to our retirees. If this passes, then retirees will have to fight for COLA’s to come from the state general account. Since the Legislature already stole over $250 million from the Special Account, I cannot imagine they will put money in for COLA’s. This would certainly be a challenge for future legislatures.

This bill also repeals the employer “spiking” assessment (RSA 100-A:16, III-a). This assessment had been scheduled to take effect July 1, 2012.

  • AFT-NH supports this section of the bill. This would repeal the so called “spiking” formula. This is the formula that they have had seven years to fix and they have not been able to do so.
    • This was the issue if your pension went over 125% of base pay then the district or town would have to pick up the extra cost of the pension. In many places, this was an extra cost of over $200,000.

SB83 -FN Title: (New Title) enabling municipalities and school districts to create other post-employment benefits (OPEB) trusts.

  • This bill enables municipalities and school districts to create other post-employment benefits (OPEB) trusts provided that the actuarial liability for the benefit was created on or before January 1, 2012.
  • These funds shall be held in trust for the exclusive benefit of retirees and their beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the plans or programs providing other post-employment benefits.

THE FOLLOWING BILLS WERE DEFEATED

HB227 -FN Title: relative to the membership of the retirement system board of trustees.
INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE

HB265 -FN Title: redefining earnable compensation in the retirement system for new and non-vested members in service.
INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE

HB460 -FN Title: relative to the retirement age for group II members.
INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE

HB463 -FN Title: relative to the retirement system maximum initial benefit limitation.
INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE

HB465 -FN Title: relative to the number of years for calculating average final compensation for retirement system benefits.
INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE

HB654 -FN-L Title: relative to credit for retirement system employer contribution overpayments.
INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE

HB1306 -FN-L Title: (New Title) requiring a report on part-time employment of retired members of the retirement system.
INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE

HB1460 Title: (New Title) establishing a defined contribution retirement plan for public employees.
LAID ON TABLE

SB228 -FN-L Title: repealing the assessments for excess benefits paid by employers in the retirement system.
NONCONCURRED

SB229 -FN Title: (2nd New Title) establishing a commission to make recommendations on whether the New Hampshire retirement system should be replaced with a defined contribution plan for all new hires and to study the impact such change would have on the retirement system.
NOT SIGNED OFF–DEFEATED

SB246 -FN  Title: relative to the calculation of employer assessments for excess retirement system benefits.
INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE

SB249 -FN Title: requiring a request for proposals for the administration and management of the New Hampshire retirement system.
INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE

Keep in mind that it is very important that you stay informed, so please sign up for get active at www.aft-nh.org and visit us on Facebook at AFT-New Hampshire. By doing these two simple things, you know you will always receive the latest news!

Thank You!
In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

NH Labor News 6/29/12: SCOTUS Decision, “Voting As A Liberal”, Unemployment, and more

Manchester school chief wants to see 80 jobs restored | New Hampshire NEWS06: “MANCHESTER — Superintendent of Schools Thomas Brennan will propose bringing back about 80 school staff tonight, including some jobs that could save the German and Latin programs at city high schools.

When the Board of School Committee meets at 7 p.m., in City Hall, it must decide how to spend the $152 million in city funds allocated to it by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, as well as the $2.3 million from the school district’s expendable trusts the school board voted last week to spend for teachers and staff.

Brennan and his administration have recommended restoring 80 positions that were slated for layoffs or were to be left vacant due to resignations and retirements.”


Durham Firefighters Hold Ceremony to Welcome Tank 4 to Department: “DURHAM, N.H. — Firefighters, their families, town officials and community members welcomed Tank 4 to the department Wednesday morning with a ceremony full of firefighting tradition.

In his 23 years with the department, Fire Chief Corey Landry said he had never partaken in such a ceremony but felt it was an important event to hold bringing the new truck into service.”


N.H. economy gives businesses reason for optimism: “While nationally the unemployment rate rose a tick in May, to 8.2 percent, New Hampshire’s jobless rate is 5 percent, the sixth-lowest rate in the nation, unchanged from April (representing a loss of 410 jobs, actually) and less than a half a percent better than last year.

But in the North Country, the April figure was as high as 10.4 percent (in the Colebrook area), 9.2 percent (Berlin area) and 8.4 percent (Coos County).

“The first six months are very disappointing,” said Russ Thibeault, an economist with Applied Economic Research in Laconia. “It looked like we were getting some forward momentum. It’s not robust. It’s kind of flat, kind of blah.”

So why does Donna Goodrich, president of Top Furniture in Gorham — in the heart of the depressed North Country — have that smile in her voice?”


What about your insurance coverage in the wake of today’s health care decision? | New Hampshire NEWS: “MANCHESTER — What will happen to your insurance coverage once a decision is handed down today from the U.S. Supreme Court on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?

That not only depends on the ruling, but on who insures you and your family.

Cigna and Anthem won’t comment until after the ruling. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and UnitedHealthcare have committed to continuing certain popular provisions of the act, regardless of which way the court rules. ”


U.S. Supreme Court health care decision | New Hampshire NEWS06: “Reaction to Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the key individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act was predictably split along party lines.

The three Republicans in New Hampshire’s congressional delegation New Hampshire’s and the two GOP candidates for governor said that although law’s centerpiece is constitutional, it remains bad public policy.

Democrats, including outgoing Gov. John Lynch, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and the party’s candidates for the U.S. House and governor hailed the ruling.”


New Hampshire GOP Speaker Discourages Students From Voting Because They’ll Vote ‘Liberal’ | ThinkProgress: “As ThinkProgress has been reporting, the slew of unnecessary voter ID laws passed by Republicans in many states this year are a transparent attempt to disenfranchise core Democratic voters, especially college students, the poor and minorities. But Republicans usually claim these laws are passed for the sake of curbing nonexistent voter fraud — it’s rare to have one admit their intention is to stop Democrats from getting to the polls.
But that’s exactly what New Hampshire Speaker William O’Brien (R) told a Tea Party crowd recently. As the new laws are already stifling students’ efforts to participate politically, O’Brien confessed that he wanted to make it more difficult for students to vote because they “vote their feelings” — i.e. vote as liberals:”


Does New Hampshire have an immigration problem? – SentinelSource.com: Editorial: “n a case of insisting on a solution to a problem that does not appear to exist, House Speaker William O’Brien says police in New Hampshire should be empowered to check the immigration status of anyone they stop for whatever reason.
The imperative from the Mont Vernon Republican came after the U.S. Supreme Court this week upheld one portion of an Arizona law that contains such a provision. O’Brien told the Union Leader newspaper that New Hampshire especially needs such a law because it’s a border state, as is Arizona. He said the high court decision gives the state “a road map” to Arizona-type legislation here.”


– NashuaTelegraph.com: “We’re really focused on educating and training people for the workplace,” Gittell said. “The community colleges are a bridge to economic opportunity for a lot of the students we serve.”
Tuition at New Hampshire’s community colleges is half the cost of tuition at the state’s four-year universities. Not only that, but students can transfer their credits to those universities to receive a bachelor’s degree in four years – two spent at the community college and the final two at a place like UNH.”

The New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans Statement on ACA

From The NH ARA Facebook Page

The following statement was issued today by Charles Balban, president of the New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans, in response to the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on the Affordable Care Act.

“Today is an historic day for Americans of all ages, an affirmation of a law that helps children, workers, and retirees obtain affordable health care. Americans can now live more secure, knowing that their health and well-being are no longer tied to the whims and greed of the big insurance companies.

“In New Hampshire, 13,187 Medicare beneficiaries with the highest drug costs have already saved an average of $620 on their prescriptions. In New Hampshire 163,746 seniors have received free, life-saving tests for chronic diseases.

“But today will be a short-lived victory if this November we fail to elect a White House and Congress with the courage to stand up to the moneyed interests in Washington. Health reform was a bold step toward helping middle class Americans feel more secure, to no longer worry that their health and well-being were powerless to the whims and greed of the big insurance companies.

“This fall’s elections provide a crystal clear contrast between someone who had the courage to risk his presidency fighting for the middle class, versus a candidate who cares only about a select few and who would replace the Affordable Care Act with a plan that is perfect for only the healthy and the wealthy.

“Today is a tremendous victory for New Hampshire seniors, their children, and their grandchildren. But we cannot rest on our laurels. In the 2012 elections we cannot let politicians roll back the progress we have made.”
###

NH GOV: Jackie Cilley Comments on the US Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act

Statement of Jackie Cilley on the US Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act 

Barrington, NH – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jackie Cilley applauded the US Supreme Court’s decision to let the Affordable Care Act’s important reforms stay in place.

 

“Today’s Supreme Court decision puts behind us the hysterical claims of the far-right and allows us to get to work making sure that the Affordable Care Act works for everyone in New Hampshire,” said Jackie Cilley. “As governor, I’m confident that I’ll be able to work with the legislature and our representatives in DC to make sure that all the ACA reforms, including Medicaid expansion, serve the citizens of New Hampshire.”

 

Jackie Cilley is on record for her strong support of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) which has today been upheld by the most conservative US Supreme Court of the modern era.  “This law expands health care coverage to thousands of those previously uninsured, and assures that all Americans will be beneficiaries of the many reforms contained in the detailed provisions of this bill, all of which the Supreme Court has definitively ruled as constitutional.  While I will continue to review the provisions regarding the expansion of Medicaid eligibility — to make sure there is no detrimental impact on our citizens, I believe June 28 is a day to remember as it marks the beginning of a new era in health care in the United States.”

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka’s Statement on Affordable Care Act

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

On the Supreme Court Health Care Decision

June 28, 2012

 

We are pleased and relieved that the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Today’s decision means that we can continue moving full speed ahead to implement and build upon the Affordable Care Act. We have no illusion that the destination has been reached, and we are more committed than ever to the hard work necessary to achieve our dream of quality health care for all.

 

With this decision, more than 105 million Americans will continue to benefit from the elimination of lifetime limits and the coverage of preventive services without cost-sharing, and more than 6 million young adults will remain covered by their parents’ health care plans. Seniors will continue to save money on prescription drugs as the Part D donut hole closes over the next eight years; already over 5 million seniors have saved $3.7 billion on prescriptions in 2010 and 2011. And insurance companies will not be able to deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions, charge women more or drop coverage for those who get sick.

 

To assure that 33 million Americans will be able to obtain health care coverage through the exchanges and Medicaid beginning in 2014, all states, including those that waited for this decision to be issued, must now do their job and act without delay. We are troubled by the Court’s decision limiting the ability of the federal government to encourage states to extend Medicaid coverage to certain lower income individuals, and it would be unconscionable for states to refuse to extend that coverage, using today’s decision as a pretext.

 

The Affordable Care Act is our first step in expanding health care coverage, improving care and beginning to get control of health care costs. We will need to build on the achievements of the Act, Medicare and Medicaid in order to fix our broken health care system and advance along the path to a more equitable and cost-effective system.

 

We believe the way forward is to build on the Affordable Care Act reforms that strengthen Medicare’s historic leadership in containing health care costs, without cutting benefits. A simple indisputably constitutional solution is to allow Americans of all ages to buy into an improved Medicare program. We believe every baby in America—whether rich or poor—deserves the same standard of quality care, and we will keep moving forward until we make this a reality.

 

We cannot afford to go backward, but that is what Mitt Romney and the Republican leadership in Congress would do. Their prescriptions would not expand coverage or control health care costs. Instead, they would shift costs to working families, retirees and the states.

 

The election this November provides a clear choice between the President, who has stood for fairness and for working men and women, and Romney, who urges repealing health insurance protection for working families. We stand with the President.

 

The SCOTUS Rules!!!

CC DBKING

By DBKING

Today was a monumental day in the U.S. Supreme Court.  By a ruling of 5-4 the SCOTUS ruled that the Affordable Care Act to be Constitutional.  Millions of Americans are grateful this bill was upheld.  The ACA has already helped millions of middle class families and will continue to benefit more in 2014 when the ACA takes full effect.

President Obama said

First, if you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance — this law will only make it more secure and more affordable.  Insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime limits on the amount of care you receive.  They can no longer discriminate against children with preexisting conditions.  They can no longer drop your coverage if you get sick.  They can no longer jack up your premiums without reason.  They are required to provide free preventive care like check-ups and mammograms — a provision that’s already helped 54 million Americans with private insurance.  And by this August, nearly 13 million of you will receive a rebate from your insurance company because it spent too much on things like administrative costs and CEO bonuses, and not enough on your health care.

Even now after all three branches of government have ruled in favor of the ACA some are still going to try to tear it apart.

“The highest Court in the land has now spoken.  We will continue to implement this law.  And we’ll work together to improve on it where we can.  But what we won’t do — what the country can’t afford to do — is refight the political battles of two years ago, or go back to the way things were.  (President Obama on 6/28/12)”

GOP candidate Mitt Romney has already started to make his campaign about repealing “Obamacare”.  He said he would “Kill it dead” on day one of his presidency.  Even though the ACA was based on a program the Governor Romney put in place in Massachusetts.

As with the millions rejoicing over the news, labor organizations from across the country are voicing their support for the SCOTUS decision.  Here are clips from various press releases:

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
“We cannot afford to go backward, but that is what Mitt Romney and the Republican leadership in Congress would do. Their prescriptions would not expand coverage or control health care costs. Instead, they would shift costs to working families, retirees and the states.

The election this November provides a clear choice between the President, who has stood for fairness and for working men and women, and Romney, who urges repealing health insurance protection for working families. We stand with the President.”

American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
“Today America’s highest court handed down a decision affirming the legitimacy of the Affordable Care Act. In so doing, the Supreme Court also has affirmed the legitimacy of our form of democracy and the rule of law. Opinions of the Supreme Court are not abstract rulings; they have real and lasting effects upon the lives of everyday Americans. Access to affordable healthcare is an essential building block to rebuilding and expanding the middle class and a lifeline to those who have no access to healthcare right now. The Affordable Care Act will continue to make that a reality for millions of Americans.
“At a time when so many Americans are struggling to get by and students continue to graduate from college with a mountain of debt and few job prospects, this law puts healthcare within reach for working families, keeps our communities healthier, and ensures that Americans can get the treatment they need, when they need it, without battling big insurance companies. Striking down healthcare reform would have dealt a devastating blow to our recovering economy. Affordable healthcare should not be a luxury for a few, but a promise to all.

“We need to work together to build upon the success of the Affordable Care Act, not prolong partisan attempts to tear it apart. We can’t afford to deny families the healthcare they need.”

AFSCME President Lee Saunders
“The Court has ruled that Congress cannot require states to expand their Medicaid funding to help poor Americans receive medical care. We will work at the state level to ensure that as many Americans as possible will receive the coverage they deserve. States should take advantage of the incentives in Obamacare and move forward to implement this far-reaching reform. Republican leaders in Congress must stop their campaign to undermine these reforms. This is a major victory for working families. This is a good day for America.”

IBEW President Edwin Hill
“President Obama’s health care plan, while far from perfect, has already made real progress in reducing medical inflation and guaranteeing more Americans access to quality health care. By upholding the law, the Court has made a vital step toward solving our health care crisis and bringing some balance back to the economy.”

Association of Federal Government Employees
“And because of the Supreme Court’s ruling affirming the individual mandate and Medicaid provisions, health care coverage will now be extended to 30 million uninsured Americans – including up to 200,000 federal employees who can’t afford insurance through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

“Now that this historic legislation has been upheld by the highest court in the land, it’s time for Republican leaders in Congress to stop their campaign to repeal the law and to focus instead on improving the economy and creating jobs.”

 

NH Labor 2012 Elections News 6/28/12: Obamacare, Citizens United, Outsourcing and More

Court put elections on the auction block | Concord Monitor: “Two things happened this month that have already begun affecting democracy profoundly. One was casino mogul Sheldon Adelson’s commitment to spend at least $100 million to defeat President Obama. More than half the campaign contributions to the president’s reelection effort so far have been for amounts less than $200. Say the average was $125. Say that money is speech. If so, then Adelson’s $100 million will speak more loudly than the voices of 799,999 contributors or nearly 100,000 more people than cast ballots in New Hampshire’s 2008 presidential election. Adelson, 78, has a fortune estimated by Forbes magazine of more than $25 billion. And he’s only one of a group of billionaires who are investing in elections.

The second event was the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to let stand its stunningly naive ruling in the Citizens United case, which declared that corporations have the same free speech rights as actual people.”


Caroline Kennedy urges voters to support Obama: “In a crowded room adorned with Obama campaign posters, Kennedy spoke of the president’s accomplishments in Washington, such as repealing “don’t ask don’t tell” in the military, investing in clean energy and saving the American auto industry. She also commended him for his work on education, an issue she championed for many years as the vice chairwoman of the Fund for Public Schools in New York City.

“That’s why it drives me crazy when people say, ‘What has he done?'” said Kennedy, who now serves as honorary director for the fund.

She drew parallels between Obama and her late father, saying she believes the president has the power to inspire the country and that the country faces a crossroads as it did in 1960.”


Romney Gets No Relief On Outsourcing Story | New Hampshire Public Radio: “Ever since the Washington Post published a widely read piece last week whose central premise was that when Mitt Romney ran Bain Capital the firm invested in companies that shipped U.S. jobs abroad, President Obama, Vice President Biden and other Democrats have repeatedly cited it.

They’ve used it to argue that Romney’s brand of business experience would be bad for U.S. workers. The Obama campaign even made the story the basis of campaign ads.”


Quotes on Obamacare from NH GOV Candidates:
Prospective governors talk health care at forum | Concord Monitor: “”This is a momentous decision and I hope the Supreme Court does strike down the Obamacare law,” said Republican candidate Kevin Smith, a former House member and state employee. “It has the name ‘affordable’ in it and it’s anything but affordable.”

Asked if he could name some provisions in the law he supports, Republican candidate Ovide Lamontagne said “there isn’t a lot in the Act that I do like.”

“I do like the fact, however, that there was an attempt by someone to try to address the problem,” said Lamontagne, a Manchester lawyer who has run previously for governor and U.S. Senate. “The problem is (the law) is the wrong direction – centralized command, you know, a top down approach.”

“I’ve tackled consumer protections in health care, trying to make sure young adults could stay on their parents’ health insurance to age 26,” said Hassan, the former Senate majority leader from Exeter. “We did that in New Hampshire before the Affordable Care Act was passed.”

“We need to ensure a citizenry that is healthy and well suited for our work force and able to participate in our economy,” Cilley said. “And as such that means that our insurance coverage has to be broad-spectrum. We looked at the cost factor in terms of what it would cost to provide that health insurance and what it would cost not to – what it was costing our society in other ways. The tradeoff, in my mind, if you’re doing a cost benefit analysis, was the right thing to do.””


Gubernatorial candidates discuss health care on eve of anticipated Supreme Court decision – NashuaTelegraph.com: “Over a two-hour forum at Saint Anselm College, Republican candidates Ovide Lamontagne and Kevin Smith; Democrats Jackie Cilley, Bill Kennedy and Maggie Hassan; and Libertarian challenger John Barbiarz each shared their views of the controversial Affordable Care Act, which has divided lawmakers and voters since it went into effect in 2010.”


My Turn: Outsiders want to influence legislators | Concord Monitor: “The Republicans in the New Hampshire House have tried to claim that they are independent actors not influenced by out-of-state interests trying to push their own legislation across the nation. Tuesday’s Monitor indicates the truth.

Jeb Bush, son and brother of U.S. presidents and the former Florida governor, wrote a piece for our local paper advocating for legislators to override Gov. John Lynch’s veto of SB 372. And Paul Clement of South Carolina wrote a letter to the editor in the same issue supporting Jeff Oligny in the upcoming Republican House primary. Both are signs that special interests outside New Hampshire are going to great lengths to influence what happens in our Legislature.”


AFT Applauds Supreme Court Healthcare Reform Decision

AFT Applauds Supreme Court Healthcare Reform Decision

“We can’t afford to deny American families the healthcare they need”

 

WASHINGTON—Today American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten lauded the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

 

“Today America’s highest court handed down a decision affirming the legitimacy of the Affordable Care Act. In so doing, the Supreme Court also has affirmed the legitimacy of our form of democracy and the rule of law. Opinions of the Supreme Court are not abstract rulings; they have real and lasting effects upon the lives of everyday Americans. Access to affordable healthcare is an essential building block to rebuilding and expanding the middle class and a lifeline to those who have no access to healthcare right now. The Affordable Care Act will continue to make that a reality for millions of Americans.

 

“At a time when so many Americans are struggling to get by and students continue to graduate from college with a mountain of debt and few job prospects, this law puts healthcare within reach for working families, keeps our communities healthier, and ensures that Americans can get the treatment they need, when they need it, without battling big insurance companies. Striking down healthcare reform would have dealt a devastating blow to our recovering economy. Affordable healthcare should not be a luxury for a few, but a promise to all.

 

“We need to work together to build upon the success of the Affordable Care Act, not prolong partisan attempts to tear it apart. We can’t afford to deny families the healthcare they need.”

 

The AFT represents 1.5 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.

 

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