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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.”
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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.

 

Press Releases on the ACA Decision…

CONCORD, NH- Annie Kuster released the following statement today:

“The Supreme Court’s decision today affirms my faith that when we put partisan politics aside, we are able to act in the best interest of the American People,” Annie Kuster said. “As a result of the ruling, millions of Americans who could not otherwise afford health coverage and who deal daily with this uncertainty, will not have to worry about whether they will be refused insurance because of pre-existing conditions. Young people, like my two sons, will be able to stay on their parent’s healthcare until age 26, and will not need to carry this burden as they work to launch their careers. We have a long way to go to control costs in our healthcare system and to improve healthcare delivery, but this ruling represents groundbreaking progress for millions of Americans.”

NH Voices for Health Statement on US Supreme Court Ruling Upholding Affordable Care Act

CONCORD – The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld the federal health reform law, the Affordable Care Act, designed to ensure every American has access to quality, affordable health care. At the same time, the Court struck a single provision related to Medicaid expansion, restricting Congress from withdrawing current Medicaid funds from a state if they do not agree to expansion efforts.

NH Voices for Health’s Policy Director Lisa Kaplan Howe issued the following statement:

“NH Voices for Health celebrates the Supreme Court ruling that will allow Granite State families and businesses to continue to access important health care protections under the Affordable Care Act. This ruling means that 8,330 young adults in our state will be able to remain on their parent’s plans, that 501 cancer survivors and other patients with pre-existing conditions currently using the high-risk pool will be able to continue to access health care coverage, and that families across the state can continue to use free preventive services to eliminate future health costs and problems.

“The health law provides greater access to coverage for families and small businesses, and the peace of mind that those plans will work for them when they really need it. Requiring insurance companies to justify large rate hikes and to spend insurance premiums on direct medical care are smart policy decisions that will benefit Granite Staters.

“It is now time to move forward with implementing the rest of the law so that all families and small businesses in our state can reap the benefits.”

NH Voices for Health’s Policy Consultant Tom Bunnell, and a state expert on Medicaid, issued this statement regarding the Medicaid expansion question:

“The US Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the health law is an impressive victory for the people of New Hampshire. The Medicaid expansion question is an important policy debate that will likely play out in State Houses across the country. We are still analyzing the ruling, but it appears that it makes the law’s Medicaid expansion optional for states. The ruling indicates that the federal government cannot withdraw current Medicaid funding for a state if the state elects not to implement the law’s new Medicaid program expansion.

“Efforts to expand access to coverage for our most vulnerable citizens is a worthy goal and one that makes our entire health care system more sustainable. We expect that New Hampshire public officials and others will work together to achieve that objective.”

A report providing data regarding the health law and the number of Granite Staters impacted can be found at NH Fiscal Policy Institute, http://www.nhfpi.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/SCOTUS-ACA-and-NH.pdf.
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Thats Right, It’s Constitutional!

from Upworthy

After months of waiting the Supreme Court has finally ruled that the American Care Act is deemed Constitutional! Now it is time to celebrate and shake hands with those who helped to pass and implement the ACA.   The New Hampshire Citizens Alliance for Action will be meeting tonight at Veterans Park in Manchester.

Speakers include Travis Harker, MD; Jeanie Holt, NH Public Health Association; Several citizens of NH giving personal testimonial on the impact of the decision; Other speakers from health-related organizations. 

WHAT: “The Wait is Over” Gathering

WHEN: Thursday 6/28/12 6:00 p.m.

WHERE: Veterans Park, 889 Elm Street, Manchester NH (Bring signs and sign making materials!)

WHY: Regardless of the outcome, it’s time we call upon our legislators to take strong bi-partisan action on Health Care Reform.

RSVP: Here on facebook or to Karen Kelly, kkelly@nhcitizensalliance.org or 860.5273

America Wants To Work, Event July 10th

From The AFL-CIO

Over the last decade the United States has lost close to six million jobs to outsourcing.  Now the NH AFL-CIO and community groups are fighting to bring those jobs back home. They will be hosting an event that is described on the America Wants To Work website as:

Workers in New Hampshire will deliver a gift to Congressman Guinta on July 10th: American-made flags and petitions from hundreds of Granite Staters asking the Congressman to be an economic patriot and support the Bring Jobs Home Act.

The plan is to meet at City Hall Plaza in Manchester (corner of Hanover and Elm)  at 12:00pm.  Then walkt to Congressman Guinta’s office and deliver some American Made flags. You can also RSVP via Facebook, here.

Neither Congressman Guinta nor Congressman Bass have stated if they will support this bill or not.   It should be noted that both Congressmen Guinta and Bass recently voted against HR 4480.  A bill that would reduce the tax subsidies for oil manufacturers.  HR 448o would have encourage companies to buy parts and supplies that were made in the United State and to stop outsourcing jobs.   New Hampshire Congressional candidate Ann Kuster’s campaign was quick to jump on this very telling vote.

“New Hampshire families deserve a Representative that stands for them and not for Big Oil and Big Business,” said Garrick Delzell, Annie Kuster’s Campaign Manager. “While Granite Staters struggle to find jobs Bass has continued to support outsourcing. Congressman Bass and Governor Romney agree that the best way to increase New Hampshire jobs is by sending jobs overseas.”

We need our Congressmen to support New Hampshire and the entire United States by encouraging them to support the Bring Jobs Home Act.   Be there to deliver flags to Congressman Guinta’s office on July 10 at 12:00pm.

If you cannot make this event, be sure to sign the petitions

For CD1 Guinta click here
For CD2 Bass click here

What Will Ovide Be Like If Elected Governor?

by Fibonacci Blue

The Tea Party Express is rolling into Concord once again.  This time the push is Voter ID

Today the NH House voted to override the Governor’s Veto on SB 289 and 318. His call to the Republican House members to override Lynch’s Veto was just a glimpse of what is to come.
It has already been said by many people that SB 289 and 318 were both bad bills.  The town clerks do not want it, and the State does not need it. This push to override the Governor was the Tea Party showing that even against a Democrat Governor they can still get their garbage through.

What is most telling about this veto override is the relationship between Speaker O’Brien and Ovide.  Their agendas seem to be so close it is like they were written by the same person.  This is not the “moderate” candidate that New Hampshire wants in their Governor.  This is just another example of the Lamontagne/O’Brien extremism.  If we want to preserve New Hampshire we must not allow Ovide to become Governor.

This year we successfully fought back dozens of bad bills that all started in the NH House.   Over the last year and a half, the Governor vetoed many of these bill to protect New Hampshire from this extreme agenda.  With Ovide at the helm, and O’Brien pushing the bills, I can only imagine what will happen.

In Voter ID Debate, Why Did Ovide Choose Ideology over Good Policy?

A Message From the NH AFL-CIO

In Voter ID Debate, Why Did Ovide Choose Ideology over Good Policy?

Endorsement of Voter ID Bills Raises Serious Questions over Ovide’s Ability to Govern

Manchester, NH – Ovide Lamontagne’s support for the override of Governor Lynch’s veto of a voter suppression bill raises serious questions about his ability to govern, New Hampshire AFL-CIO officials said today following the House’s override votes on SB 289 and 318. Just days after election officials raised serious technical concerns about the amended version of SB 289, and despite the admission by both the House and the Senate that the legislation needed revision, Ovide urged the New Hampshire House to override Governor Lynch’s veto of SB 289, another voter suppression bill.

“With his support for SB 289, Ovide has sided with Speaker Bill O’Brien and chosen politics over good public policy,” said President Mark MacKenzie of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO. “Elected leaders need to be able to make objective decisions on policy regardless of their political affiliation. This objectively bad bill was engineered for political, not practical, reasons. It will make it difficult, if not impossible, for election officials to do their jobs. It will disenfranchise seniors, new voters, and people with disabilities. It is opposed by elections officials across the state. It is telling that despite this mountain of evidence, Ovide still stands with House Speaker O’Brien in his support for SB 289 and 318.”

In remarks to the Bedford Patch, Ovide labeled SB 289 a “straightforward bill”. Yet the City & Town Clerks Association and the Secretary of State’s office have raised concerns about language in the bill that requires a notarized affidavit as well as the narrow list of acceptable ID’s. By adding the notary process to the affidavit, it will add several minutes per person, creating longer lines at the polls. Aside from James O’Keefe’s manufactured Project Veritas stunt during January’s presidential primary, there is no evidence suggesting that voter fraud is a problem in New Hampshire.

“Granite Staters should be seriously concerned about Ovide’s apparent inability to make sound public policy decisions,” President MacKenzie said. “He stood with Speaker O’Brien on a right-to-work for less law. He supports abolishing the minimum wage. Now he has embraced an unworkable attempt at a voter suppression bill. New Hampshire needs a governor who will put good public policy and common sense before extreme ideology and political allegiances.”

 

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