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850% Increase To Seniors Healthcare: NH Congressional Delegation Responds To New CBO Report

Yesterday the non-partisan, Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their report on the American Healthcare Act of 2017 (AHCA) and the news is horrifying to seniors and low income families.

The CBO reports:

  • An estimated 23 million people would lose healthcare coverage over the next ten years.
  • The cost of an individual plan would skyrocket by 20% in 2018, and an additional 5% in 2019.
  • Those 50-64 would be forced to pay drastically higher premiums, as much as 60% of their income.

VOX reports that this would be an 850% increase over what they would pay under the current ACA law.  You can see the breakdown of premiums based on 175% of the Federal Poverty Level ($26,500 per individual) and 450% of FPL ($68,200).

This new law makes healthcare completely unaffordable for millions of Americans, specifically older Americans.  These are just what people would be forced to pay to get “access” to healthcare. This does not include deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance.   Nobody could possibly afford to pay 60% of their income to have the freedom to access healthcare.

“Today’s CBO report confirms that the Republican healthcare repeal bill is not only reckless, it would be devastating to Granite Staters’ health and wellbeing,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).”Throwing 23 million Americans off their insurance is not a successful healthcare plan. The Republican leadership’s repeal bill would result in many patients paying more and receiving less coverage, while eliminating protections that prevent insurance companies from discriminating against patients with pre-existing conditions such as a history of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or postpartum depression. The repeal bill would be particularly harmful to New Hampshire’s response to the opioid epidemic, eliminating Medicaid expansion that has helped Granite Staters get the substance misuse treatment they need. I urge my Republican colleagues to commit to working in a bipartisan manner to improve the Affordable Care Act and ensure that more Americans have affordable, accessible care.”

“The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has confirmed what we already knew: Trumpcare would be devastating for hard-working people across New Hampshire and America, leading to higher costs for worse health coverage,” said Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH). “If you buy your own health care, Trumpcare means you will face 20% higher premiums in 2018, with especially high premium hikes for older Americans. And if you have a pre-existing condition, which under Trumpcare includes cancer, asthma or diabetes, you could once again be discriminated against with higher costs. Trumpcare would also lead to 23 million more uninsured Americans, and it would undermine our efforts to combat the heroin, fentanyl, and opioid crisis – despite President Trump’s promises to take action against this crisis. I will continue to do everything in my power to stop this harmful Trumpcare bill.”

“Today’s estimate by the independent Congressional Budget Office confirms that the health care repeal bill Republicans pushed through the House earlier this month would kick a devastating number of Americans – 23 million people – off of their coverage, strip protections from people with pre-existing conditions, and raise their premiums,” said Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) who voiced her opposition to this bill on the House floor.

“This estimate caps off a disturbing week where President Trump proposed devastating cuts to Medicaid, children’s health care coverage, and Social Security disability insurance, while continuing to destabilize insurance markets by denying insurers certainty about whether his Administration will honor its obligations. President Trump has broken his promise of ‘insurance for everybody,’” Shea-Porter added.

“This report affirms what we already knew, that the American Health Care Act would be a disaster for access to healthcare in New Hampshire and across the country,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02). “It would take away protections for those with preexisting conditions, allow Americans over 50 to be charged more, hurt access to healthcare for seven million veterans, and jeopardize our response the opioid epidemic. I urge my Republican colleagues to abandon this legislation and come to the table in good faith to work on bipartisan solutions to improve access to healthcare for all Americans.”

No doubt the Republicans will try to say that the CBO confirms that this new healthcare bill will save taxpayers “$116 billion dollars” over the next decade.  But at what cost?  They are gutting Medicaid upwards of $800 billion with an addition $276 billion in tax giveaways to wealthiest Americans.

This new healthcare bill is a complete disaster. The Senate is our only hope to somehow fix this.  If the Senate passes this bill as it is now, people will die.  People will no longer be able to afford healthcare and they will no longer be able to afford their medications and they will die.

Kuster Denounces President Trump’s Cuts That Will Hurt Rural New Hampshire, Most Vulnerable

 

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Community Development Block Grants, and the Northern Border Regional are all slated for elimination in President Trumps FY 2018 Budget

(Washington, DC) – Yesterday, the Trump Administration released its FY 2018 budget which includes the complete elimination of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), and the Northern Border Regional Commission. Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) expressed her serious concern about the impact of the elimination of these programs on vulnerable New Hampshire populations and economic development in rural parts of the state.

“It’s unconscionable that President Trump would single out programs for elimination that are so important to the most vulnerable Granite Staters and Americans,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “The complete elimination of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is particularly egregious and will harm low-income seniors and families who rely on this lifeline during the cold winter months.”

The budget proposed by President Trump would:

  • Eliminate the Community Development Block Grant Program
  • CDBG provided $9,208,375 to New Hampshire in 2015 to support affordable housing, spur economic development, and create jobs
  • Eliminate the Northern Border Regional Commission
  • New Hampshire received $1,800,000 in 2016, which leveraged $19,557,067 in private investment
  • Included funds for the Groveton Mill redevelopment, the Littleton Riverwalk and other economic development projects in New Hampshire’s North Country and other economically challenged areas
  • Eliminate the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • LIHEAP provided $25,749,807 in 2015 to help Granite State seniors and families stay warm during the winter

Kuster continued, “We’ve seen the success of programs like the Northern Border Regional Commission and Community Development Block Grants in spurring economic development programs throughout our state and in particular rural parts of New Hampshire. The last thing we should be doing is eliminating effective programs that create jobs and boost our economic competitiveness. I intend to oppose these misguided cuts and will fight for programs important to New Hampshire’s residents and economy.”

 

NH Congressional Delegation Adamantly Opposes Trump’s Budget Proposal

Today, #45 released his disastrous budget proposal.  The budget slashes major departments and includes cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Education, Student Loan programs, repeals the ACA, and guts worker health & safety programs.

Even though, Candidate Trump promised not to make any cuts to Social Security and Medicare, it turns out he was lying.

After all the cuts, #45 proposes more tax cuts to the ultra wealth, like himself, and to multinational corporations who are hiding trillions of dollars overseas already.

“According to Mulvaney, the proposal looks ‘at the budget through the eyes of the taxpayer’ instead of those who receive benefits from federal programs.” (RawStory)

“If I can look you in the eye and say I’m going to take this money from you so I can help this injured vet, I can do that in good conscience,” Mulvaney continued. “I am a lot less comfortable to the point of not wanting to look you in the eye and say, ‘Look, I need to take this money from you to give to this person over here who really isn’t disabled but is getting a disabled benefit or this person over here who is supposed to use the money to go to school but isn’t actually going.” (RawStory)

The New Hampshire Congressional delegation is united in their opposition to these cuts.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen:

“The President’s budget is even worse for New Hampshire than initially feared,” said Shaheen. “This budget would be detrimental to the health and well-being of Granite Staters. Among its many reckless provisions this proposal would throw millions of Americans off of Medicaid, a key program in our fight against the opioid epidemic and in making sure our children and seniors have the care they need. It also cuts funding for other mental health and substance misuse treatment programs. All in all, this budget completely ignores the urgency of the opioid crisis and would pull the rug out from under New Hampshire’s efforts to combat it.

“This budget also continues the Trump administration’s campaign to roll back women’s rights by defunding Planned Parenthood, jeopardizing vital preventive healthcare for nearly 12,000 women in New Hampshire. In a further assault on New Hampshire families, the budget cuts the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Similarly, it’s dumbfounding that this budget eliminates low income heating assistance for thousands of New Hampshire families and seniors, and economic development for the North Country.

“Fortunately, there’s bipartisan agreement that this mindless proposal should be rejected by Congress. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I look forward to working across the aisle on bipartisan government funding legislation that will responsibly fund key programs that many Granite Staters depend on. The budget is a reflection of an administration’s priorities, and what is clear from this budget is that the Trump administration prioritizes tax cuts for the wealthy over New Hampshire children, seniors, and families.”

Senator Maggie Hassan

“President Trump’s budget proposal would directly undermine our economy and the ability of New Hampshire families to get ahead and stay ahead. This irresponsible proposal would jeopardize critical economic priorities and hurt job-creating businesses in order to pay for tax cuts for corporate special interests and an expensive and ineffective border wall. I am particularly disturbed to see cuts to programs that are essential to our efforts to combat the heroin, fentanyl, and opioid crisis. The drastic cuts to the Medicaid program in this proposal go above and beyond even the devastating cuts included in the Trumpcare bill, further hurting people struggling with substance use disorder, students who experience disabilities, and older Americans in nursing homes. President Trump’s proposed cuts to the Department of Education would also undermine our public education system and hurt efforts to develop the workforce our businesses need to thrive and grow. I will strongly fight this budget proposal and urge my colleagues to work across the aisle on a budget that strengthens our economy, invests in our businesses, and supports New Hampshire families.”

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01)

“A budget is a moral document, and this immoral budget does not reflect the values we share as Americans. The President’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal would hurt students, working Americans, seniors, and our most vulnerable citizens by slashing health care, nutrition assistance, medical and scientific research, education, and other programs. President Trump’s budget reveals his true priorities: giving huge tax cuts to the wealthiest individuals and the biggest corporations.

“Today’s budget abandons the bipartisan progress we made earlier this month, when I voted for and the President signed an omnibus spending bill. As Congress works through the Fiscal Year 2018 budget process, I will fight against reckless and irresponsible cuts that target working families and our most vulnerable citizens; against the President’s proposal to balance the budget on the backs of working Americans and our seniors while giving the wealthiest even bigger tax cuts; against a new BRAC round; and for the priorities that were reflected in this year’s bipartisan omnibus bill.”

Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02)

“The budget proposal released today by President Trump confirms many of our worst fears about the priorities of his administration,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “This budget is cruel, shortsighted, and would be a disaster for efforts to strengthen the middle class. It would hurt hard working families and communities throughout New Hampshire and the country. From public education and student loans to economic development programs like Community Development Block Grants and the Northern Border Regional Commission, this budget would decimate programs for those who can least afford it. It would jeopardize clean air and water and our response to the opioid epidemic, all so that President Trump and his millionaire and billionaire friends can receive a massive tax giveaway. I’ll do everything in my power to fight the harmful elements of this budget and protect programs for Granite State veterans, seniors, and families.”

As if the above cuts were not enough already here are more details on the draconian cuts that Trump is proposing.

  • A $610 billion cut to Medicaid over 10 years, which combined with House-passed American Health Care Act cuts would slice total Medicaid funding almost in half by 2027. About 65 percent of nursing home residents are supported primarily by Medicaid;
  • A $5.8 billion cut to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP);
  • A $7 billion cut to National Institutes of Health (NIH), which provided $98.9 million in critical medical research funding in New Hampshire for Fiscal Year 2016, supporting approximately 1,300 jobs;
  • A 10.7% cut to the National Science Foundation, which provided 125 awards totaling approximately $42 million to New Hampshire institutions in Fiscal Year 2016;
  • A 31.4% cut to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including cutting critical climate science research;
  • Authorization for a new round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC);
  • A 29% cut to State Department funding, crippling our nation’s ability to exert soft power and respond to humanitarian crises worldwide;
  • A $193 billion cut over 10 years to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which helped 93,302 Granite Staters afford food as of February 2017;
  • $72.5 billion cut from programs that support people with disabilities, including Social Security disability insurance;
  • Elimination of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), a critical fuel assistance program for low-income households in New Hampshire;
  • A $143 billion cut over 10 years to student loan, financial aid and repayment programs that facilitate access to higher education;
  • A reversal of a proposed 95% cut to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). After reports indicated that the President’s budget would include severe ONDCP funding cuts, which the NH delegation has already opposed.

This immoral budget must not pass.  We need to stop trying to balance our national budget on the backs of working people and specifically by taking from those who need it the most.  We must stop this tax giveaway to the wealthiest Americans and corporations who already fail to pay their fair share of tax and hide profits overseas to avoid being taxed at all.

The government should be working together to help all of the people, not a select few of ultra wealth, (most likely Trump) campaign donors.

New Hampshire Congressional Delegation United Against Cuts To Office Of National Drug Control Policy

New Hampshire Congressional Delegation Writes to President Trump in Opposition to ONDCP Cuts

(Washington, DC) – Today Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) the founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, along with U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) wrote to President Donald Trump to express their opposition to proposed cuts to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). The letter highlights the importance of ONDCP to addressing the substance misuse crisis in New Hampshire. Recent reports cite up to 94% in cuts to the office, which is critical to coordinating the federal response to the opioid epidemic that is negatively impacting communities throughout the state and the country. The letter comes as the Trump Administration continues to pursue policies that would undermine efforts to address the opioid crisis.

“We write to you as the federal delegation representing New Hampshire, one of the states suffering most from the nation’s opioid crisis, to express our concern after recent reports indicated that the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) could face severe budget cuts in fiscal year 2018,” wrote the members. “These cuts would eliminate important programs that improve the ability of local law enforcement to respond to the opioid crisis in our communities. Programs like the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) and the Drug-Free Communities Support program provide local law enforcement and public health officials the flexibility needed to tailor appropriate responses to challenges facing their communities.”

The delegation continued, “We urge you to reconsider any proposed cuts to ONDCP that would undermine federal response to the ongoing opioid crisis.”

The proposed cuts to ONDCP include the Drug-Free Communities Support program and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program, which coordinates drug trafficking activities in designated areas. Last year, the New England HIDTA region received nearly $4.5 million in funding, including nearly $250,000 specifically for Hillsborough and Rockingham counties in New Hampshire.

The full text of the letter is available below and here.

 

Trump Letter ONDCP May 19

Kuster Helps Introduce Legislation to Assist Student Dealing with Loan Debt

(Washington, DC) – Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) helped introduce legislation to assist students in New Hampshire and across the country refinance their loans at lower rates. Kuster is an original co-sponsor of the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, led by Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-2) and United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Last year, a report found that New Hampshire had the highest student loan debt in the country on average, at $36,101.

“Student loan debt is a huge burden that not only makes life difficult for young borrowers but hurts our economy,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “Our students in New Hampshire are facing the highest average debt load in the country and we need to provide relief. The money our young people are spending paying off student loan debt could be going toward starting a new business or buying a home. It’s common sense that students should be able to refinance their student loans at lower rates currently offered to new borrowers. I’ll continue to work with my colleagues to lower the costs of higher education and create opportunities for young people to get the education or training they need without being saddled with large sums of debt.”

Congresswoman Kuster has been a strong advocate in promoting college affordability during her time in Congress.  She has supported the Perkins Loan Program and funding for Pell Grants through her role as a member of the Higher Education Caucus.  During the 114th Congress she cosponsored the Student Loan Repayment Assistance Act to incentivize employer development of student loan repayment assistance plans. Kuster has also worked to expand access to community college and job training programs for Granite Staters.


Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter previously her support for this legislation.

HHS Secretary Tom Price Visit NH Trying To Peddle The AHCA

Today, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price came to New Hampshire to host a roundtable discussion on the American Health Care Act and it impact on access to healthcare and substance misuse treatment in New Hampshire.

The AHCA has very little support, except for those inside the Republican Party, for its cuts to programs designed to help states combat the growing opioid addition.  This include NH’s Governor Chris Sununu.

Over the weekend, Republican Governor Chris Sununu praised the recently passed Trumpcare bill, calling it a “great message” to the American people and saying he was “glad they pass something.” The governor also wanted to see Congress give him the power to opt-out of providing coverage for substance abuse treatment.

New Hampshire has the third-most per capita deaths by drug overdose and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) called the state “ground zero” for the opioid epidemic. Sununu is welcoming Trumpcare architect, Health & Human Services Secretary Tom Price to the state on Wednesday to discuss the opioid crisis just days after the governor expressed interest in cutting off coverage for substance abuse victims.

“It’s a mystery what exactly made Governor Sununu throw his support behind the most recent and cruelest version of Trumpcare, but it could do with the amendments that allows states to deny coverage and hike up premiums for more Americans,” said NHDP Chair Ray Buckley. “Sununu’s idea to give states the option to deny coverage for substance abuse treatment is heartless. The governor’s purely ideological stance would weaken New Hampshire’s ability to combat our largest and most urgent issue.”

This weekend, the New Hampshire Hospital Association called the bill “a significant step backward.” New Hampshire Health Care Association said they couldn’t “imagine how care in New Hampshire ultimately survives this blow,” and the CEO of Catholic Medical Center said the bill would “result in dramatic increase in uncompensated care costs.”

Two new reports analyze ways in which Trumpcare would damage Granite Staters. Kaiser Family Foundation’s analysis of the AHCA found that a 60-year old in New Hampshire making $20,000 a year would pay 607% more in premiums than under the ACA. New Futures calculated the cost of substance abuse in New Hampshire as upwards of $2 billion annually, underscoring the need for federal assistance. Rather than increase federal money, Trumpcare would cut Medicaid by $880 billion and phase out Medicaid Expansion by 2020.

Sununu also asked for the power to opt-out of providing mental health coverage. The Trumpcare bill that just passed the House offers two key opt-out provisions. One provision would allow states to opt out of guaranteeing “essential health benefits” and the other would effectively allow insurance companies to charge an unlimited amount in monthly premiums to those with preexisting conditions.

In advance of Secretary Price’s visit, Congresswoman Annie Kuster wrote to the Secretary and inquired about the Trump Administration’s commitment to ensuring coverage for those with preexisting conditions, protecting rural hospitals, supporting treatment and recovery services for substance misuse, and avoiding cost increases for older Americans.

“I was glad to have the opportunity to express my concerns about the American Health Care Act with Secretary Price this afternoon,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “In New Hampshire, Medicaid expansion offered through the ACA has played an important role in getting thousands of Granite Staters seeking recovery services the treatment and care they need. Nearly every participant at today’s listening session highlighted the critical need to continue Medicaid expansion in our state. The Republican healthcare bill poses a serious threat to efforts to address the opioid crisis in New Hampshire and across the country. I hope that after hearing from people in New Hampshire, Secretary Price will have an appreciation for the importance of preserving access to treatment and recovery services that were established by the ACA. Rather than pursue partisan efforts to repeal the ACA, I urge my colleagues to come together in good faith to work to improve access to healthcare for all Americans.”

Senator Jeanne Shaheen said the AHCA “decimates Medicaid” and removes requirements for insurance companies to “cover substance misuse” treatments.

“Considering Secretary Price played a lead role in crafting the Republican leadership’s healthcare repeal bill, I hope that he will take to heart the significant concerns of Granite Staters who are extremely alarmed about the impact that this legislation would have on their lives,” said Senator Shaheen.

“Today, Secretary Price said the Trump administration’s focus is to provide coverage and care to every American, but his words don’t match the administration’s actions. The Republican leadership’s healthcare repeal bill decimates Medicaid, and eliminates the program’s expansion and the federal requirement that insurance plans cover substance misuse treatment.  Taken together, these policies would not only take a wrecking ball to our state’s progress to address the opioid epidemic, but put us in a far worse position than ever before. These tools are fundamental to New Hampshire’s efforts to provide treatment to Granite Staters who desperately need it. Needless to say, a listening tour would have been much more appropriate prior to pushing this healthcare repeal legislation through the House of Representatives without any hearings,” Shaheen added.

 

Senator Maggie Hassan is also opposed to the AHCA and is “deeply concerned” about the cuts to the office “tasked with coordinating the federal government’s response to the substance misuse crisis.”

“While I appreciate Secretary Price’s visit to New Hampshire to highlight the heroin, fentanyl, and opioid epidemic devastating our state, there remains a troubling disconnect between the Trump Administration’s words and its proposals, which would significantly harm our ability to combat this crisis. The Trumpcare proposal being pushed by Secretary Price would be devastating to those on the front lines of this crisis – from slashing the traditional Medicaid program, to ending New Hampshire’s bipartisan Medicaid expansion plan and undermining the requirement that insurance companies cover substance use disorder treatment. I am also deeply concerned by reports that the White House is considering effectively eliminating the office tasked with coordinating the federal government’s response to the substance misuse crisis.”

“I hope that Secretary Price listened closely and learned from the discussion in which participants largely focused on the importance of Medicaid expansion and the critical role it plays in our efforts to combat substance misuse and save lives.”

 

As the day moved on, Secretary Price continued his listening tour but decided to lock out local media outlets.

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter blasted them in her statement.

“If an HHS Secretary hosts a so-called ‘opioid listening tour’ and doesn’t allow the public or press to hear it, does it make a difference? People in New Hampshire are tired of hearing all talk on the opioid crisis and no action from Washington Republicans – and in fact, Secretary Price has spent the last few weeks pushing policies that would send us backwards in this fight. Perhaps Secretary Price kicked the press out of his roundtable because he knows his support for kicking millions off health care and ending key heroin-fighting programs is indefensible. Maybe he didn’t want to face the Granite Staters who now have access to treatment for opioid misuse, but who would lose coverage under the Republican health care bill, which repeals the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. Or maybe he didn’t have an explanation for why just last week, the White House proposed drastic cuts to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the office that has been coordinating the federal response to the opioid emergency, and proposed ending the award-winning New England High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program. Secretary Price and the Trump Administration should get to work on concrete actions that show a real commitment to turning this tide, and to making sure nobody in New Hampshire loses their health care.”

The AHCA would kick an estimated 24 million off their healthcare. It would gut Medicare and give massive tax breaks to the ultra-wealthy.

 

NH Elected Leaders, Community Groups, And Healthcare Providers Speak Out Against Trumpcare Passage

Republicans Push Trumpcare Through House Despite Huge Opposition

Today the Republicans in the U.S. House pushed through their “repeal and replace Obamacare” legislation.  The bill passed with a four vote margin at 217-213.

“Today Republicans in the House put politics ahead of the wellbeing of millions of Americans and thousands of people throughout New Hampshire,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster (D-NH). “The American Health Care Act threatens access to healthcare for hardworking families, removes protections for those with pre-existing conditions, increases costs for seven million veterans and Americans over 50 years old, and jeopardizes our response to the opioid addiction epidemic that is impacting communities nationwide. I’m extremely disappointed that my colleagues were so steadfast in their determination to appease the most extreme elements of their party that they disregarded the voices of their constituents. I’ve consistently expressed my willingness to work with Republicans and Democrats to improve our healthcare system for all Americans, but this misguided legislation is not the answer. I hope that as the seriously damaging elements of this bill become more clear the Senate will come together in bipartisan opposition to the AHCA.”

“The House just passed a terrible bill that will devastate so many of our citizens. I am disappointed that so many Congressional Republicans voted to take health care away from millions of Americans and to allow insurers to once again discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions,” said Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH). “While today’s vote was a setback, I will never stop fighting for the people’s right to health care. Now, I urge my colleagues in the Senate to send this bill where it belongs: history.”

Minutes before the vote, Shea-Porter spoke on the House floor to oppose the bill, saying:

“I oppose this cruel bill on behalf of my constituents, especially those it would hurt the most: people with pre-existing conditions, older Americans, veterans, and lower-income people. If this bill passes, we will go back to the days when people with pre-existing conditions could be denied coverage or charged more, when insurers could decide whether or not to cover basic care like hospitalization, and when sick babies might hit their insurer’s lifetime coverage limit before they could even walk.”

Both NH Senators spoke out against the bill and indicate they will oppose it in the Senate.

“There is nothing in Trumpcare that helps hard-working Americans. This dangerous Trumpcare bill would lead to higher costs for less care for people across New Hampshire and the entire country,” Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH). “If you have a preexisting condition – which under Trumpcare includes cancer, asthma or diabetes – you could once again be discriminated against with higher costs. And if you are between the ages of 50 and 65 you would face a new age tax, which is among the reasons the AARP strongly opposes this bill.

“Trumpcare would also dramatically hurt our ability to combat the heroin, fentanyl, and opioid crisis by ending Medicaid expansion and undermining the requirement that insurance companies must cover substance use disorder and behavioral health services. By cutting and capping traditional Medicaid, Trumpcare would also hurt people from students who experience disabilities to older Americans in nursing homes. And Trumpcare would defund Planned Parenthood, which provides critical health services to thousands of New Hampshire women and families,” Hassan concluded.

“President Trump and Republican leadership have recklessly rushed legislation through the House that would be devastating to the health and wellbeing of New Hampshire,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). “This bill dramatically reduces healthcare coverage across the country, increases costs for patients, and eliminates protections that prevent insurance companies from discriminating against patients with pre-existing conditions. Under this bill, insurance companies could discriminate on a wide-range of conditions and circumstances, including history of cancer, heart disease, C-sections, postpartum depression and even being the victim of sexual assault or domestic violence. It also eliminates funding for Planned Parenthood, jeopardizing access to vital preventative care services that more than 12,000 Granite State women rely on to live healthy lives, care for their families, and lead in the workforce.”

“The vote to take away health care from millions of Americans is a shameful display of partisan politics at its worst,” said Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “House Republicans voted to take health care away from tens of thousands of Granite Staters, abandon Americans with pre-existing conditions, slash Medicaid, and raise health care costs for all families to give over $600 billion in tax breaks to the very wealthy and the big insurance and drug companies.”

“Trumpcare will take us back to the days when insurance companies made all the rules. It will eliminate any requirement that insurers cover basic health benefits like prescription drugs, preventive services, and maternity care. It lets insurers charge people with pre-existing conditions whatever they want and it radically restructures Medicaid, over time cutting services to seniors, children and people with disabilities and shifting huge financial burdens to the state budget.”

“For years Granite Staters donned ‘I’m a Health Care Voter’ stickers and called on candidates to fix our country’s broken health care system. President Obama delivered on that promise and health care advocates were continuing efforts to improve coverage while bending the cost curve. During all that time opponents to health care reform failed to offer any meaningful ideas and instead continued their partisan path of obstruction. Now they have blown up every opportunity American families had to gain the coverage we all need to be healthy and economically secure,” Rice-Hawkins concluded.

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England highlighted some of the devastating cuts to women’s health in the new American Healthcare Act.

  • Take away health coverage for 24 million people.
  • “Defund” Planned Parenthood — by blocking people with Medicaid from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers — including birth control, cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment.
  • Eliminate protections that restrict insurance companies from charging people with pre-existing conditions unaffordable rates. Under this bill, health insurance companies could once again charge people tens of thousands of dollars a month because they had cancer.
  • Undermine Essential Health Benefits standards, including maternity coverage and prescription drugs, which disproportionately affect women.
  • Gut the Medicaid program, which approximately 1 in 4 women of reproductive age rely on to access no-cost, critical reproductive health care such as birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, and maternity care.
  • Reduce access to no-cost preventive services, including birth control.
  • Impose a nationwide ban on private insurance coverage of abortion.

“This is the worst bill for women’s health in a generation. It makes it harder for women to access birth control to prevent unintended pregnancy, harder to obtain maternity care to have a healthy pregnancy and harder to meet the health needs of children and families,” said Jennifer Frizzell Vice President for Public Policy, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. “Alarm bells should be ringing in every house across New Hampshire.”

“If enacted, this legislation would block thousands of New Hampshire patients who rely on Medicaid from accessing the reproductive care that Planned Parenthood health centers provides. New Hampshire has some of the nation’s lowest rates for teen pregnancy and STI incidence and has been recognized for the best maternal health outcomes in the country. Under the terms of the House bill all of this progress will come undone.”

The NH AFL-CIO spoke out against the passage of Trumpcare and thanked NH’s Congresswoman for opposing the bill.

“The New Hampshire AFL-CIO was disappointed to see that the Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to pass a health care bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act and confiscate health care benefits from millions of people, handing a big tax break to the wealthy few while taxing working people’s health benefits.

This new effort by Republicans in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act would be a disaster for all working families. This bill will gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions, take away health care from millions of people, raise health care costs for millions more and put money in the pockets of the superrich and corporate CEOs.

Our country needs a health care plan that expands coverage for all Americans, not one that cuts it. The New Hampshire AFL-CIO and its allies will continue to fight to protect and expand health care for all. We would like to thank Congresswoman Kuster and Congresswoman Shea-Porter for continuing to stand in Solidarity with New Hampshire working families and opposing this effort to roll back the progress we have made in providing health care to millions of our Brother and Sisters across the country.”

NH Healthcare providers also condemned the passage.

“Using Affordable Care Act repeal and replacement as a pretext, the vote today was a devastating attack upon traditional Medicaid funding that predates the ACA by decades,” said Brendan Williams, President and CEO of the New Hampshire Health Care Association. “The so-called American Health Care Act cruelly rations Medicaid funds for seniors and those with disabilities. It’s a real ‘death panel’ bill. I can’t imagine how care in New Hampshire ultimately survives this blow. We already have the nation’s second-oldest population and third-worst nursing home funding crisis.”

“We are deeply disappointed in the vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) today in the House of Representatives, as it will result in millions of Americans and tens of thousands of Granite State residents losing the health insurance coverage that they depend on to help them get the right care, at the right time, at the right place,” said Steve Ahnen, President of the New Hampshire Hospital Association.

“The AHCA will continue to cut more than $1.5 billion in Medicare reimbursements from hospitals in New Hampshire through 2026 that would be devastating to their ability to serve the patients and communities who depend on them. It downshifts costs to the states through the imposition of Medicaid block grants, which underfund the cost of providing care to Medicaid patients and undermine New Hampshire’s successful Medicaid expansion program.  And it puts at risk important consumer protections, which could leave patients without access to critical health services and increase their out-of-pocket spending.

“This bill is a significant step backwards on the commitment to ensure coverage and we cannot support it.  We will continue to work with Congress as this bill moves over to the Senate to ensure that any final legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act improves our health care system in a thoughtful and responsible way, rather than dismantling coverage for our most vulnerable residents,” Ahnen concluded.

Both NH Congresswomen Join 190 US Reps To Support For The Equality Act of 2017

As President Trump prepares to sign an executive order tomorrow that would sanction discrimination against Americans based on sexual orientation, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) is highlighting her support for the Equality Act of 2017, introduced by Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI), and expressing her opposition to discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community. Kuster is a member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, an organization dedicated to promoting equal protection under the law for LGBTQ Americans.

“I’m deeply troubled by reports that the Administration plans to issue executive orders tomorrow that would allow discrimination against Americans simply based on who they love,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “I strongly support the Equality Act of 2017 because our nation is fundamentally an accepting and open society. LGBTQ Americans should be extended the same protections from discrimination as other protected classes and I urge my colleagues to join me in calling for policies to create more freedom in our nation, not less.”

Congresswoman Kuster has long advocated in favor of equal rights for every American. In advance of the historic 2015 Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality, she joined with over 200 of her colleagues in Congress to submit an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to rule in favor of equal protection in the eyes of the law.

She previously co-sponsored the Equality Act in the last Congress, as well as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), and she has long been committed to passing legislation to ensure that employees cannot be discriminated against in the workplace because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01)  joined with Congresswoman Kuster and more than 190 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives to introduce the Equality Act of 2017.

“In 2017, nobody should face discrimination and bigotry because of who they are and who they love,” said Shea-Porter. “I’m proud to co-introduce the Equality Act of 2017, which would finally ensure that federal civil rights protections cover LGBTQ Americans.”

 

The Equality Act of 2017 would extend the same protections already in place for other protected classes to LGBTQ Americans. It would explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in education, employment, housing, credit, Federal jury service, public accommodations, and the use of Federal funds in Federal civil rights law.

Despite significant advances, LGBTQ people across the country remain vulnerable to discrimination and too often have little recourse. With the advent of nationwide marriage equality, in many states, same-sex couples have the right to marry but have no explicit non-discrimination protections. In most states, this means that a same-sex couple could legally marry one day and risk being fired from their jobs or evicted from their apartment – simply because of who they are.

The Equality Act ensures that the same protections already extended to other protected classes are equally available to LGBTQ Americans. It amends existing federal civil rights laws to explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in education, employment, housing, credit, Federal jury service, public accommodations, and the use of Federal funds.

 

In some of these areas, federal law prohibiting sex discrimination has already been properly interpreted by federal courts and administrative agencies to include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Equality Act affirms that understanding of existing law and makes the prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity explicit, in order to provide greater clarity to members of the public, employers, schools, businesses and other affected parties. In areas where sex discrimination is not already prohibited, the bill amends existing law to bar discrimination on the basis of sex as well as sexual orientation and gender identity.

The New Fight Over Net Neutrality

Yesterday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced plans to repeal 2015’s Open Internet rules more commonly known as Net Neutrality.

Net neutrality is the principle that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should provide equal access to all applications, content, platforms, and websites. The Federal Communications Commission adopted rules to provide a level playing field and protect against content discrimination, and these rules went into effect in June of 2015.

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter announced her opposition to these proposed changes in a statement:

“I strongly oppose today’s FCC proposal, which would repeal the Open Internet rules we developed to protect consumers and instead let network owners create ‘fast lanes’ and ‘slow lanes’ for web content, allowing some pages, apps, and videos to load faster than others. Repealing Open Internet rules would give Internet service providers unprecedented control over what content consumers can access, and could lead to an Internet that looks more like cable TV, with ‘channels’ of content.

“The FCC must continue to defend net neutrality: the simple principle that lawful content on the Internet should be equally accessible to everyone, and that Internet service providers such as Comcast and Verizon should not be allowed to discriminate against some content providers. It means these Internet service providers shouldn’t be able to create a two-speed Internet, where bigger companies pay for faster speeds, or where customers have to pay more to receive quick service.

“Without the guarantee of network neutrality, the Internet superhighway’s rules of the road will favor big tech businesses over newer startups. The Internet has allowed the proud tradition of American ingenuity and entrepreneurship to reach every corner of the globe. Its openness has enabled a new generation of New Hampshire innovators to turn a bright idea and a laptop into a business. The last thing our economy needs now is for these engines of growth to be slowed,” concluded Shea-Porter.

Shea-Porter was a leader in 2014’s successful fight to defend net neutrality, cosponsoring the Open Internet Preservation Act of 2014, a temporary fix to allow the FCC time to rewrite its rules and defend net neutrality, and sending a letter to then-FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler during development of the Open Internet rules, urging the inclusion of strong consumer protections to prevent anti-competitive behavior and promote innovation. Earlier this year, she and 31 colleagues urged Chairman Pai to follow the 2015 Open Internet rules.

Shea-Porter has continued to be a staunch Internet privacy advocate. She previously introduced the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2014 to ensure consumers are notified quickly if their private information has been compromised, and help prevent cyber-attacks by addressing the underlying problem of lax security and a lack of accountability. She has also co-introduced legislation that would prohibit employers from requiring current and prospective employees from disclosing their personal passwords as a condition of either keeping or getting a job. In March, she voted “no” on S.J.Res.34, Republican legislation that became law and will allow Internet Service Providers to sell private browsing data without a consumer’s permission.

Congresswoman Annie Kuster also opposed rolling back the Net Neutrality provision that she voted for in 2015.

“The free and open internet is critical to growing the industries and jobs that are an important part of the 21st century economy,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “We must ensure that consumers and startups that use the internet have equal access to online content and services. Congress should act to put forward rules of the road that will protect consumers. I’ll continue to advocate for Net Neutrality so that people of all economic backgrounds have equal access to information and internet capabilities.”

Senator Maggie Hassan stated she is concerned with Chairman Pai’s approach.

“I am very concerned by the approach outlined by Chairman Pai, which could undermine critical online protections for consumers and innovators,” said Senator Maggie Hassan. “Net neutrality ensures a level playing field that helps promote innovation and encourage economic growth while protecting consumers from unfair practices. It is essential that we maintain these principals. The FCC should reject Chairman Pai’s approach and work to ensure strong net neutrality rules for all Granite Staters and Americans.”

After the long hard fight to ensure Net Neutrality just two years ago we are once again in a fight over access to the internet.  We must ensure that the Net Neutrality provisions are not eliminated.

Shea-Porter, Kuster Announce 2017 Congressional Art Competition

Annual Contest Showcases New Hampshire
High School Students’ Artistic Talent

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) and Annie Kuster (NH-02) today announced a call for entries for the 2017 Congressional Art Competition. Each spring, members of Congress sponsor a nationwide high school visual art competition where students from across the country submit their artwork to be displayed in the U.S. Capitol Building.

“Our state’s high school artists have produced some amazing artwork through the years and I am excited to see what this year’s contributors will exhibit,” said Shea-Porter. 

“I always enjoy seeing the beautiful works of art that young Granite Staters create for this competition,” said Kuster. “These pieces bring joy to visitors from around the country. I thank these talented individuals for sharing their work with us.” 

The Congressional Art Competition has offered young artists the opportunity for recognition and encouragement since 1982. More than 650,000 high school students have been involved with the nationwide competition through the years. The winning artwork from each Congressional district is displayed in an eleven-month exhibit in the Cannon House Office Building tunnel that leads into the U.S. Capitol.  

Art entered in the contest may be up to 26 inches by 26 inches (including the frame) and up to 4 inches in depth. Eligible artwork mediums include: 

·         Paintings: Oil, Acrylics, Watercolor, etc.

·         Drawings: Pastels, Colored Pencil, Pencil, Charcoal, Ink, Marker (It is recommended that charcoal and pastel drawings be fixed)

·         Collages: Must be two dimensional

·         Prints: Lithographs, Silk Screen, Block Prints

·         Mixed Media: Use of more than two mediums such as Pencil, Ink, Watercolor, etc.

·         Computer-generated art 

·         Photographs 

The deadline for entries is Friday, April 28, 2017 at 5:00 PM. For more information, First District constituents may view full contest guidelines at shea-porter.house.gov/services/art-competition, and Second District constituents may view full contest guidelines at kuster.house.gov/services/art-competition.

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