Governor Hassan and NHDP Chairman praise the two-year anniversary of theNew Hampshire Health Protection Program while Republican candidates all agree on repealing the program.
Today is the two-year anniversary of the New Hampshire Health Protection Program, New Hampshire’s version of the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. The program provides health coverage to an additional 50,000 Granite Staters who previously were ineligible for Medicaid but could not afford to purchase private insurance.
“Two years since health coverage began, the bipartisan New Hampshire Health Protection Program is boosting our economy, strengthening the health and financial security of our people and businesses and helping combat the heroin and opioid crisis. Today, nearly 50,000 hard-working Granite Staters have the security and peace of mind that comes with quality, affordable health insurance, and thousands have accessed substance misuse and behavioral health services. I am proud that we worked together across party lines earlier this year to reauthorize this critical program, and I look forward to continuing to work with members from both parties, health care providers and other stakeholders to maximize the benefits of health care expansion for all of our people and businesses,” said Governor Hassan.
“For the health of our families and our economy, we need to make sure the Medicaid expansion is renewed next session,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn. “Senate Democrats remain fully committed to making sure New Hampshire families are as healthy as they can be and our economy is as strong as it can be.”
“Especially with the opioid crisis still raging in our state, we can’t afford to play games with people’s health,” added Woodburn. “It’s been shown that next to Granite Hammer legislation, the single most important thing we in government can do to fight addiction is to continue the Medicaid expansion for our most vulnerable fellow citizens.”
Though the Senate has compromised in the past and expanded Medicaid with both Democratic and Republican votes, the retirements of several moderate Republicans this year puts the future of the program in jeopardy.
“With our moderate colleagues like David Boutin and Nancy Stiles leaving us, we fear the Republican caucus will be even more extreme when we convene again in December,” continued Woodburn. “Fortunately, we have strong candidates and campaigns in every district in the state this year. With victories in key districts, Democrats will become the majority in the State Senate and will act quickly to ensure the future of this program. We’re confident that Granite State voters will back common sense in November and vote for continued Medicaid.”
The New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley issued the following statement on the second anniversary of coverage beginning under New Hampshire’s successful bipartisan Medicaid expansion program that now provides coverage to nearly 50,000 Granite Staters and needed resources to providers on the frontlines of the opioid crisis:
“Today, we celebrate New Hampshire taking an important step forward two years ago to ensure quality, affordable healthcare for the people of our state. We thank Governor Maggie Hassan and the Democratic leaders of the House and Senate for their tireless work to expand insurance coverage to almost 50,000 of our neighbors, improving not only our community’s health but boosting our economy as well.
“Unfortunately, some Republican leaders including Kelly Ayotte and the Republican gubernatorial candidates remain committed to putting their special interest backers ahead of the people of New Hampshire. While each of the Republicans running for Governor has made their opposition to the New Hampshire Health Protection Program clear, Kelly Ayotte has actually voted repeatedly to repeal the Affordable Care Act and end this successful program that has already helped so many in our state.
“New Hampshire cannot afford to end this bipartisan, innovative program that is saving lives across the Granite State. That is why we must–and will–defeat Kelly Ayotte in November and maintain Democratic control of the Governor’s office.”
Every GOP candidate – Chris Sununu, Ted Gatsas, Jeanie Forrester & Frank Edelblut – has either voted to prevent or repeal Medicaid expansion or actively opposes New Hampshire’s Medicaid expansion.
“That every Republican candidate for governor opposes or wants to repeal New Hampshire’s Medicaid expansion reveals just how far to the right these candidates are running. Medicaid expansion has extended health care to nearly 50,000 Granite Staters, and has provided substance abuse benefits to another 6,000 people. The Republicans’ opposition to this successful program is just one more instance of their putting political ideology before the well-being of New Hampshire families,” added Buckley.
Polls show Granite Staters favor Medicaid expansion, with a massive 66% of voters backing its original authorization. But the Republican candidates are unanimous in their opposition to New Hampshire’s Medicaid expansion.
Executive Councilor Chris Sununu told NH1 he’s “all for repealing Medicaid,” and he has the record to prove it. He voted against endorsing a special session to consider Medicaid expansion and voted against the original contract allow Medicaid expansion to begin.
In April 2016, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas told the Union Leader that “he does not believe Medicaid expansion is the long-term solution” for low-income Granite Staters. When criticized by a Forrester advisor for not being sufficiently extreme on the issue, “the Gatsas campaign repeated his opposition per the candidate’s point above, that the program is not the solution and New Hampshire needs to pursue alternatives.”
State Senator Jeanie Forrester voted against reauthorizing Medicaid expansion earlier this year and her campaign criticized Sununu and Gatsas for suggesting they support Medicaid expansion. Sadly, their response doubled down on their opposition, making it clear they’re just as out-of-touch with low-income Granite Staters as she is. Her health care plan, released last week, doubled down on her opposition to Medicaid expansion.
State Representative Frank Edelblut voted against Medicaid expansion reauthorization and told the Concord Monitor he would not reauthorize the program were he to be elected governor.