Scott Brown’s Die Young and Broke Campaign Launch (A Statement By Granite State Progress)

Scott Brown in 2010
Image by Wiki Commons
Scott Brown in 2010 Image by Wiki Commons

Scott Brown in 2010
Image by Wiki Commons


Brown wants New Hampshire families to forgo benefits he used himself

CONCORD, NH – Scott Brown will formally announce his campaign bid for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire tonight with a hypocritical ‘Die Young and Broke’ campaign theme – otherwise advertised as Live Free or Log On. Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“Scott Brown had no problem logging on when he was collecting health care from the federal government for his own family. Brown even told his hometown paper the Boston Globe that he was keeping his younger daughter on his health plan through age 26, a popular provision available to all families thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Yet, Brown is encouraging Granite State families to forgo health care coverage with a misleading campaign slogan. He might as well be saying die young and broke from lack of health care coverage or medical bankruptcy because that’s what he’s endorsing.”

“Scott Brown’s failed Massachusetts talking points don’t jive with the real benefits tens of thousands of Granite Staters are experiencing thanks to Obamacare. Like Scott Brown’s daughter, 10,000 New Hampshire young adults have remained on their parent’s health insurance plan thanks to the Affordable Care Act. In the last month New Hampshire exceeded expectations for marketplace enrollment and passed Medicaid expansion with a bi-partisan coalition because true Granite Staters know that access to quality, affordable health care coverage means living free from a lifetime of health care problems or escalating medical debt.”

Scott Brown’s campaign also released a press release earlier this week that stated that health care premiums in New Hampshire have risen 90%. WMUR debunked the number, reporting that the flawed figure was based on the opinion of a single New Hampshire broker and that New Hampshire premiums will actually decrease by 8% this year.

“Perhaps Scott Brown’s formal campaign launch will mean that he’ll finally invest in a campaign researcher instead of just the staff he hired to pick out popular New Hampshire venues for his staged photo ops,” Rice Hawkins said.

 

Sources:

Boston Globe: Brown says daughter, 23, insured under health law, May 1, 2012

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, How the Health Care Law is Making a Difference for the People of New Hampshire, Updated August 1, 2013

Scott Brown: Study Showing Rising Insurance Premiums a Sad Reminder of Obamacare’s Consequences

WMUR: Hear the one about NH health insurance rates going up 90 percent? April 9, 2014

Morgan-Stanley And The NH GOP Spread Lies About “Premium Increases Of 90%” Due To ACA

Doctor Medical Healthcare

Doctor Medical HealthcareRecently the NH Union Leader posted an article — Surveys: NH health premiums up 90%; more people insured under Obamacare — about the Affordable Care Act and your insurance premiums that was so full of holes I could strain pasta with it.

The article explains Morgan-Stanley surveyed NH insurance brokers and they claim that insurance premiums have increased by 90% on average.

The NH GOP and Senator Scott Brown were quick to jump on the news in an attempt to gain support for repealing the ACA.

Morgan Stanley’s healthcare analysts conducted the proprietary survey of 148 brokers.” (Forbes)

After reading the report, I found that Morgan-Stanley only questioned one broker in New Hampshire.  This means the claim that premiums increased by 90%, was only one persons assessment.  Would you believe that a report is representative of NH with an interview from one person?  That is like taking your crazy uncle Larry as a representative of the entire State of New Hampshire.

At least Dave Solomon was fair in sharing some of the opposition to the Morgan-Stanley report.

Lisa Kaplan Howe, policy director at New Hampshire Voices for Health in Concord, said the Morgan-Stanley report is not necessarily an accurate reflection of the reality on the ground, since it surveyed only insurance brokers.

‘Many of the people who enroll in individual market coverage enroll on their own, through the website or through assisters,” she said. “So just talking to brokers isn’t getting the full picture.’”

There is no denying that insurance rates go up every year. This is no different from the price of milk, eggs, or Big Mac’s. This was just one of the reasons that Congress passed the Affordable Care Act in an effort to slow the rapidly rising costs of healthcare.

There is one place that does more than survey insurance brokers’, they calculate insurance premium costs for all Granite Staters.  Danielle Kronk Barrick, Director of Communications for the NH Department of Insurance, also investigated these claims by Morgan-Stanley, and this is what the DOI found.

Premium rates in New Hampshire, in the aggregate, did not go up 90%. An independent actuarial analysis modeling the Affordable Care Act impact on New Hampshire policyholders found that, on average, NH policyholders will realize an 8% rate decrease after subsidies. 

Individual experiences may vary significantly. The Department stands ready to review and consider any consumer’s experience. People who have received a rate increase they are concerned about should contact the Department. 

We would like to see the survey, but we were told it was proprietary and confidential. We don’t understand how Morgan Stanley is able to generalize what’s going on in the New Hampshire market based on talking to 158 brokers nationally. 

We do data-driven analysis based on what’s happened in the past and have actuarial projections. We also review rate increases and do not approve any increases that cannot be justified with data. 

The truth is that not everyone saw savings after the Affordable Care Act was passed, but overall more Granite Staters saw a decrease in their premiums than those who saw an increase.

*******

 

More information from the NH DOI on Healthcare Premiums

Here is a link to our projections, which were done by Gorman Actuarial in 2012 — we reviewed and approved the 2014 rates, and they were in line with Gorman’s projections: http://www.nh.gov/insurance/reports/documents/gorman_nh_mktstdy_kf.pdf

 

For more context, here is a link to our 2013 annual report: http://www.nh.gov/insurance/reports/documents/nhid_ann_rrhrng_2013rpt.pdf

 

Consumers may reach the New Hampshire Insurance Department by emailing consumerservices@ins.nh.gov or calling (603)271-2261.

 

 

Congresswoman Annie Kuster Applauds CMS Decision Not to Cut Payments for Medicare Advantage Plans

Ann kuster head shot LG

Congresswoman Annie Kuster Applauds CMS Decision Not to Cut Payments for Medicare Advantage Plans 

Earlier this month, Kuster wrote a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Requesting the Increased Support for Medicare Advantage

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) today applauds a new rate announcement by the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS). CMS has announced that it will raise payments to Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, which will help protect important health benefits for New Hampshire seniors.

Previously, CMS had estimated a reduction in payments to Medicare Advantage plans due to a provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Congresswoman Kuster recently wrote a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urging the Administration to reconsider this scheduled cut, which could have adversely affected 12,542 Medicare Advantage beneficiaries in New Hampshire by causing increases in their premiums and copays, and affecting their plan and benefit options. The recent announcement takes into consideration Kuster’s advice, and no cuts will take place for 2015.

“I’m extremely relieved that CMS took my advice and reversed its previous scheduled plan to reduce payments to Medicare Advantage,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “I have long said the Affordable Care Act was far from perfect, and I was deeply concerned that these specific reductions proposed by the ACA were not cost-effective and could have negatively impacted many Granite Staters who depend on these plans.  I’m thrilled that the Administration has done the responsible thing and will continue to support the Medicare Advantage plans that provide high quality, affordable health care to many of our seniors.”

Congresswoman Annie Kuster is a strong proponent of working across the aisle to implement the Affordable Care Act as smoothly as possible and fix any problems with the bill, like potential cuts to Medicare Advantage that could have hurt New Hampshire seniors. In addition, Kuster joined a bipartisan group of her colleagues in sending a letter to CMS urging Administrator Marilyn Tavenner to reevaluate proposed reductions in payments for Medicare home health services, which many New Hampshire seniors and their families rely on to stay healthy in the comfort of their homes. She also voted in favor of the Keep Your Health Plan Act to allow people whose plans were being canceled due to ACA requirements to keep their plans for an additional year. And she recently cosponsored the Small Business Tax Credit Accessibility Act, which will help small businesses provide their employees with health insurance by expanding affordability tax credits for small employers.

 

Granite State Rumblings: Thousands Of Granite Staters Flock To Healthcare.Gov Before March 31 Deadline

obamacare Approved

The website Healthcare.gov has been the butt of a lot jokes the past few months. In fact, President Obama, himself, joked about it last week on the web series, “Between Two Ferns.” That viral video had a lot of people talking and a lot more heading to the Healthcare.gov website to sign up. And that is exactly what the administration was looking to have happen.

Nationally, young adults account for slightly less than one-fourth of the Americans who signed up for health plans during the initial three months of federal and state insurance marketplaces — fewer than the government has said will be needed to make the economics of the new exchanges work – which is why the President took to the comic webwaves.

Under the ACA, everyone must have health insurance this year or pay a penalty. The penalty is at least $95 but potentially much more, depending on income.

Those who fail to sign up by March 31 will have to wait until November for another chance to buy health insurance through the marketplaces.

But here in New Hampshire not everyone is waiting. As Todd Bookman reported for NHPR a few days ago, more than 21,000 New Hampshire residents have signed up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act, according to new data released by the federal government.

Here are the New Hampshire numbers:

  • In February, 4,715 enrolled in coverage, bringing the total since October above the federal government’s estimate of 19,000 total sign-ups for the state.
  • Women account for 55% of enrollees,
  • Nearly 3-in-4 residents qualified for some level of financial assistance.

Nationally, the numbers look like this:

  • More than 4.2 million (4,242,300) people selected Marketplace plans from Oct. 1, 2013, through Mar. 1, 2014, including 1.6 million in the State Based Marketplaces and 2.6 million in the Federally-facilitated Marketplace. About 943,000 people enrolled in the Health Insurance Marketplace plans in the February reporting period, which concluded March 1, 2014.
  • Of the more than 4.2 million:
    • 55 percent are female and 45 percent are male;
    • 31 percent are age 34 and under;
    • 25 percent are between the ages of 18 and 34;
    • 63 percent selected a Silver plan (up one percentage point over the prior reporting period), while 18 percent selected a Bronze plan (down one point); and
    • 83 percent selected a plan and are eligible to receive Financial Assistance (up one point).

If you live in New Hampshire and don’t have insurance, aren’t happy with your current coverage, or are looking for a more affordable plan, the new Health Insurance Marketplace provides you with new options to find health coverage that fits your budget. You can search and compare plans online, and quickly see if there’s a plan that works for you, by visiting the Covering New Hampshire website.

Whether you need health coverage or already have it, the new health care law offers new rights and protections that make coverage fairer and easier to understand. If you already have an individual insurance plan and want to change it, you can use the Marketplace to explore your options and enroll in a new plan. But even if you don’t want to change plans, the health care law protects you by:

  • Requiring insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions.
  • Holding insurance companies accountable for rate increases.
  • Preventing insurance companies from canceling your coverage just because you get sick.
  • Ends lifetime and yearly dollar limits on coverage of essential health benefits, including emergency rooms visits, prescription drugs, preventive care, and many others.

If you or someone you know needs health insurance, please check it out today, so you won’t miss the March 31st deadline.

NH Seniors Teach Frank Guina About Healthcare At His Local Listening Session

by Jennifer Kenny of the NH Alliance for Retired Americans
20140303-213035.jpg
DOVER, N.H. — With only two days advance notice, New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans members made time to attend former Congressman Frank Guinta’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act “listening” session at the Dover Community Senior center.

Aside from his staff person, six people attended the session. Guinta did not seem surprised by the poor turnout. When asked by one attendee how to learn about these “listening” sessions in advance Guinta was not clear in his response.

Guinta’s account of this session on Facebook differs from the recollection of at least five of those present. Guinta says he “had a great time this morning talking with a group of seniors at the Dover Community Senior Center, the most recent stop on my health care listening tour. We discussed the effects that the Obama Administration’s proposed 3.55% cut to Medicare Advantage will have on their ability to receive the care they have come to expect, and the overall negative impacts of Obamacare.

In fact, when Guinta asked who in the room supported the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, all audience members indicated their support.

At first Guinta tried to play the 3.55% cut to Medicare Advantage (MA): as a cut to Medicare. But a participant brought out the true fact that this is a reduction in payments to private insurance companies that sell Medicare Advantage plans, not to beneficiaries. Then the conversation quickly changed.

Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicare Advantage private insurance companies will receive a decrease in income from the federal government. The way it used to work: under a sweetheart deal with a prior administration, private insurance companies who engaged in the sale of Medicare Advantage plans received a monthly payment per customer from the federal government. This payment was in addition to any premiums that the customer paid to the private insurance company. Talk about your Government subsidy!

Under the new law the average payment to private insurance companies of $1000 per MA customer has been cut by 3.55%. In addition, companies selling Medicare Advantage plans are still paid a bonus based on federal guidelines. Medicare Advantage companies who choose to make a business decision to continue sales of their product line still receive a substantial subsidy per patient each calendar month but at the reduced rate of 3.55%.

Please read the bulleted item below. This is a concise explanation about the seldom spoken about practice of government enabling private business to profit from all Medicare customers.
The Department of Health and Human Services website, discussing “Overpayments to Big Insurance Companies and Strengthening Medicare Advantage,” says “Today, Medicare pays Medicare Advantage insurance companies over $1,000 more per person on average than is spent per person in Traditional Medicare. This results in increased premiums for all Medicare beneficiaries, including the 77% of beneficiaries who are not currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. The law levels the playing field by gradually eliminating this discrepancy. People enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan will still receive all guaranteed Medicare benefits, and the law provides bonus payments to Medicare Advantage plans that provide high quality care. Effective January 1, 2011. Learn more about Medicare and the Affordable Care Act.

It is disappointing that Frank Guinta’s account of the “listening” session is so misleading, and ignores the facts brought out by participants in the session.

Every Medicare customer needs to know that ObamaCare closes the part D “donut hole”, expands coverage for seniors who need help at home or are in nursing homes and increases access to preventive care. It also reforms Medicare advantage, the private insurance program that is costing the tax payers millions.

New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans members say that they continue to support the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act also known as ObamaCare because, after all, President Obama does care.

Granite State Rumblings: How Healthcare, Income Inequality, and The Gender Wage Gap, Are All Connected

African American waitress serving lunch

Since President Obama gave the State of the Union Address, we have been hearing a lot of talk about income inequality and the gender wage gap.

A new report from The Working Poor Families Project states that in 2012, there were more than 10 million low-income working families with children in the United States, and 39 percent (4.1million) were headed by working mothers struggling to support 8.5 million children. The economic conditions for these families have worsened since the onset of the recession; between 2007 and 2012, there was a four percentage-point increase in the share of female-headed working families that are low-income.

The report defines “low-income working families” as earning no more than twice the federal poverty income threshold. In 2012, the low-income threshold for a family of three with two children was $36,966.

Addressing challenges specific to these families will increase their economic opportunity, boost the economy and strengthen the fabric of communities across the nation.

Public policy can play a critical role in our future prosperity by reversing this trend and improving outcomes for low-income working mothers. While the federal government can play a role, of particular interest in this report is how state governments can best invest in helping working mothers gain the education, skills, and supports necessary to become economically secure and provide a strong economic future for their children.

Here are a few of the key points from the report:

Education

  • Increasingly, education is the key to success in the labor force and is a major factor driving the growing economic gap between lower-income and higher-income families. However, relatively few low-income working mothers have the training and skills needed to earn decent wages.
  • Education can provide a pathway out of poverty, but postsecondary education and skills training are often out of reach for low-income working mothers.
  • Access to postsecondary education can be limited due to a number of factors such as tuition costs, transportation issues and class schedules that conflict with standard working hours.
  • Lack of affordable, high-quality child care also limits the ability of working mothers to both enter and succeed in college.

Low Income, Fewer Benefits

  • A key barrier for working mothers is the gender gap in earnings. In 2012, women earned just 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gap that has persisted over the past ten years.
  • The primary challenge for working mothers is their concentration in low-wage jobs. Women remain significantly underrepresented in many high- paying, high-demand occupations, especially in blue-collar and technical fields.
  • Women in low-wage work are often in jobs that do not provide benefits such as health insurance paid sick leave, or, in some occupations, even wage protections.
  • The U.S. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), guarantees the availability of unpaid sick leave for just over half of U.S. workers. But for those not covered, and/or who are living from paycheck to paycheck, unpaid leave is generally not a viable option since staying at home to take care of a sick child may lead to greater economic pressures, including the loss of a job.

For maximum impact on this problem, the report says state governments should focus on policies that are sensitive to the needs of working mothers and to all parents in general by:

  • Increasing access and success for low- income working mothers in postsecondary education.
    • Create and expand tuition assistance programs that make postsecondary education accessible for low-income working mothers.
    • Allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at public post-secondary schools.
    • Better utilize existing program resources of TANF, Adult Education and WIA to support the success of working mothers in postsecondary education.
    • Provide increased and dedicated academic and personal supports for low-income working mothers, including affordable, high-quality child care and other strategies targeted to promote student parent success.
    • Invest in programs that help pregnant women and young mothers achieve a high school credential and transition to postsecondary education.
    • Restructure adult basic education and community college programs in accordance with bridge program and career pathway concepts to better accommodate low- income working mothers, including English Language Learners who may be seeking an occupation credential or degree.
    • Take steps to encourage and support low-income working mothers to pursue career and technical education/training programs in nontraditional fields such as STEM, manufacturing and transportation by crafting state policies to take advantage of opportunities in such programs as Perkins, WIA and apprenticeships.
  • Improving the quality of low-wage jobs.
    • Raise the state minimum wage and minimum wage for employees who receive tips and index them to inflation to help meet basic household needs.
    • Implement and enforce paid maternity leave and paid sick leave policies to ensure all working mothers can take paid time off when they or their children are sick.
  • Creating a strong network of work supports to strengthen female-headed, low-income families and assure basic family needs are met.
    • Provide a state refundable EITC for low- income families, including non-resident fathers who pay their child support, to help make low-wage work pay.
    • Support the expansion of Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act to ensure low-wage working mothers have access to affordable health care.
    • Improve access to quality child care for low-income families during work and school.
    • Maintain a strong commitment to work supports (e.g., SNAP, Medicaid as well as EITC and child care) and structure eligibility levels to avoid “cliff” effects with the goal of improving family well-being.

Launched in 2002 and currently supported by the Annie E. Casey, Ford, Joyce and Kresge foundations, The Working Poor Families Project is a national initiative that works to improve these economic conditions.

Here are some facts about New Hampshire from the Working Poor Families Project report:

  • Number of low-income working families: 28,751
  • Number of female-headed low-income working families: 12,450 or 43%
  • National Average of female-headed low-income working families: 39%
    • NH Ranking among all states: 32
  • Number of women in female-headed low-income working families with no post-secondary education:  6,607 (53%)
  • National average of women in female-headed low-income working
  • Families with no post-secondary education: 49%

There is currently legislation being considered in New Hampshire on several of the recommended policy actions in the WPFP report.

  • Allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at public post-secondary schools.
    • HB 474 – An act relative to eligibility for in-state tuition rates at the university system of New Hampshire.
      • Status – Passed/Adopted with Amendment by the House
  • Raise the state minimum wage and minimum wage for employees who receive tips and index them to inflation to help meet basic household needs.
    • HB 1403 – An act establishing a state minimum hourly wage.
      • Status – In House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee
      • Executive Session today (2/18/14) at 2:00 PM in LOB 307
  • Address the gender wage gap.
    • HB 1188 – An act relative to paycheck equity.
      • Status – Majority Committee Report – Ought to Pass
      • Scheduled for House Floor Vote – Wed., February 19th
    • SB 207 – An act relative to paycheck equity.
      • Status – In Senate Commerce Committee
  • Support the expansion of Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act to ensure low-wage working mothers have access to affordable health care.
    • SB 413 – An act relative to access to health insurance coverage.
      • Status – In Senate Health, Education and Human Services Committee
      • Public Hearing – Today (2/18/14) at 9:15 AM in SH 100

For more information about the SB 413, please read this week’s Common Cents blog post from NH Fiscal Policy Institute:

An Overview of SB 413: Extending Affordable Health Insurance to Low Income Residents.

On Thursday, February 13, 2014, Senators Morse, Larsen, Bradley, Gilmour, Odell and D’Allesandro introduced SB 413 to create the Health Protection Program.

SB 413 creates three stages of extending affordable health insurance to low income Granite Staters: the Health Insurance Premium Program (timeline: ASAP–December 31, 2016); the Bridge to Marketplace Premium Assistance Program (timeline: ASAP–June 30, 2015 if no waiver or December 31, 2015 if waiver approved); and the Marketplace Premium Assistance Program (timeline: January 1, 2016–December 31, 2016 if waiver approved).

Descriptions of the three stages can be found by clicking here.

New BLS Report Shows Union Members Earn Hundreds More Per Week

union_yes_sign_616

Today the Department of Labor released their annual report on union membership in the United States.  For the first time in many years the number of union members held steady at just over 11% of the U.S. workforce.

For many years labor unions have been saying that being a union member has a definite financial advantage, and this report proves it.

The data also show that among full-time wage and salary workers, union members have higher median weekly earnings than nonunion workers,” said Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez.  “The median weekly earnings of union members were $950, compared to $750 for nonunion workers.

Wages union vs non union

The average benefit for being a union member is $200 per week, or just over $10,000 per year.  That is a significant boost to a workers income.

The additional money in their paycheck is not the only benefit to being a union member, as Sec. Perez explains.

Along with higher wages, other data show that union members have greater access to employment-based benefits, such as health insurance, a retirement savings plan, and sick and vacation leave.

The Economic Policy Institute reports:

Unionized workers are more likely than their nonunionized counterparts to receive paid leave, are approximately 18% to 28% more likely to have employer-provided health insurance, and are 23% to 54% more likely to be in employer-provided pension plans.”

Not only are unionized workers more likely to have healthcare, typically they pay less for their coverage.

They (unionized workers) also pay 18% lower health care deductibles and a smaller share of the costs for family coverage.” (EPI Report)

Membership has its benefits.

Sec. Thomas Perez: “Workers’ ability to form unions and engage in collective bargaining has been a cornerstone of a strong middle class. The decline in union membership over the last few decades has contributed to more working families struggling to get by. When workers have a seat at the table, they are better able to bargain for their fair share of the value they helped create; and that leads to greater economic security and economic mobility for everyone.  As our economy continues to recover and we work to create good jobs, we need to ensure workers can lift their voices to raise wages, reduce inequality and help more people climb ladders of opportunity.”

Union membership states

From BLS report

See also Private-Sector Union Membership Grows in 2013 from the AFL-CIO

 

The NHLN’s Top Five Priorities For 2014

Image from SantaBanta.com
Image from SantaBanta.com

Image from SantaBanta.com

Today we begin a new year and I thought I would take a few minutes to lay out my priorities for the NH Labor News this year.   As the creator and content editor of the NH Labor News, I get to choose the direction the blog moves in.  This year we are going to be focused on these five things. 1) Raising the Minimum Wage in New Hampshire and throughout the country: The minimum wage is so far behind that people are working full time and still live in poverty.  We need to increase the minimum wage to help give people at the bottom more spendable income, which they will spend in local stores and businesses. Raising the minimum wage will also reduce the amount of money that the government shells out in food assistance programs. Raising the minimum wage will create new jobs and increase our GDP. 2) Passing comprehensive immigration reform and providing a roadmap to citizenship. There is no denying that we need to do something to change our current immigration laws.  Every day over 1,000 immigrants are forcibly deported, tearing apart their families and destroying their lives.  These immigrants are being physically abused and are having their personal property stolen. What about the children, the ‘dreamers’, who were brought illegally as toddlers and have lived in the U.S. their entire lives?  Many of these children do not know they are not American citizens until they try to acquire a driver’s license or some other government ID. We need to do something for the 11 million aspiring Americans, who like my great grandparents, left everything to move to American and chase the American dream.   They deserve the same chances that our grandparents had. 3) Postal Reform: Our goal is to bring awareness to the real reason the USPS is going bankrupt on paper.  The truth is that the pre-funding obligation forced on the USPS is what is making it appear that they are going bankrupt. With Congressional Representatives like Darrel Issa pushing to end Saturday delivery and privatize the entire USPS, we need to fight back.  We cannot let they destroy the great and most beloved division of the US Government. We will continue to bring you news about pending legislation and proposed changes to the USPS. 4) Healthcare: Whether you’re a fan of the Affordable Care Act or not, there is no denying that it has helped millions of Americans get affordable healthcare, many for the first time.  Like many laws, there are flaws, but compared to what we had before it is a step in the right direction with an ultimate goal of having a national single payer system. We will also keep pushing to expand Medicaid.  Low-income families can barely afford to survive and need programs like Medicaid to help keep their families healthy.  Over 50,000 Granite Staters would benefit from an expanded Medicaid, if we could just pass the bill. 5) Pushing for stronger labor laws and creating new American jobs: We need to repeal the Taft-Hartley Act. We need to pass laws that make it easier to organize workers, especially in jobs that are not typically covered by unions (i.e. McDonalds and Wal-Mart). We will continue to fight against the so-called Right To Work (for less) laws that weaken the collective bargaining process and lower wages for all workers. We also need to continue to fight against the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership that will only continue the off shoring of US Jobs.  At the same time we need to keep pushing for laws that increase American manufacturing.  Ensuring that the US Government spends our tax dollars on companies right here at home. We also need to pass a real jobs bill, something that will help rebuild our nations infrastructure while putting millions of people to work. If you follow the NH Labor News then none of these items will be foreign to you.  These are the main items we talk about, and will continue to talk about, until we see the changes we need and want. As long as you keep reading and sharing, we will keep writing and providing ammunition to fight back against the right wing attackers. If you have not already subscribed via email, now is your chance.

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(Not in the top five, but a personal priority for me. I will continue to push for stronger gun laws, and universal background checks on all gun sales. I do not ever want to see children running out of their elementary school again because a man carrying an assault weapon is terrorizing their school.   I do not want to have to write about the sacrifices that six brave educators did in an attempt to protect their children.)

All I Want for Christmas Is Health Insurance; SEIU 1984 Hosts ACA Enrollment Fair

SEIU 1984 Logo

The State Employees’ Association of NH (SEA) and Manchester Community Health Center are jointly hosting an Affordable Care Act enrollment fair Thursday, December 19 from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Manchester Community College in Room 300. The enrollment fair is designed to help educate SEA members, students and working people about how to access new health care options available through the ACA Marketplace.

Trained representatives from the sponsor organizations will be onsite to help individuals research their plan options, determine if they are eligible for tax credits that will reduce their healthcare costs and enroll.

While the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act got off to a bumpy start, the process is now running smoothly. “It is so rewarding to help someone who has not had access to health insurance become enrolled,” said Joe Cicirelli, an SEA field representative. “The SEA remains dedicated to its plan to make sure all Granite Staters have access to quality, affordable health care. In pursuit of that goal, we have been hosting health care enrollment fairs across the state since the beginning of November,” said Cicirelli.

“Every one of our members has family, neighbors, or friends who do not have health insurance,” said Diana Lacey, President of SEA. “We believe that everyone should be able to visit a doctor when they are sick, or have the medicine they need to help manage chronic disease. We are pleased to be working with Manchester Community Health Center on this important campaign.”  The SEA has a long history of advocating for a healthy and financially secure middle class.  “That extends beyond our membership.  In lifting up all families, we will have a stronger and more vibrant NH population and economy,” said Lacey.

For more information, contact John Thyng at 603-271-3411 x106 or jthyng@seiu1984.org.

Nothing is more important than your health. Join us. Ask Questions. Get Answers. Get Covered.