NHLN Note: This another letter to the editor from a concerned NH veteran on why we need Medicaid expansion.
According to a recent analysis by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute, it is estimated that 1500 uninsured New Hampshire veterans and 800 uninsured veterans’ spouses would be among the hard-working, low-income Granite Staters who would be newly eligible for Medicaid if New Hampshire’s government decides to expand it. The governor and the NH House both support expansion of Medicaid while the NH Senate has yet to vote on this issue.
The study cited above reports that out of America’s 1.3 million uninsured veterans (this is disgraceful), 40 percent could qualify for expanded Medicaid benefits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) otherwise known as “Obama Care.” Yet, of the half-million uninsured veterans who would be potentially medicaid eligible under the ACA, 3/4 — 414,000 people — have incomes below 100 percent of the federal poverty level and would NOT qualify for exchange subsidies if their state does not expand medicaid. Thus, the vote by NH’s State Senate is crucial.
The Urban Institute study I mentioned does not even take into account the thousands of veterans who have yet to return home from the waning Afghanistan War. Those veterans are mostly young people who will be forced to confront the widespread economic inequality, record homelessness, and unprecedented levels of PTSD and suicide that are plaguing veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Everyone says they “support the troops.” But, is this only when they are sent off to war, but not when they return? My organization, Veterans for Peace, has a cadence when we march: ”They wave the flag when you attack, but when you come home, they turn their back.” Please, NH State Senators, do not turn your backs on those low-income veterans and their spouses who deserve and need health care.
Will Thomas, Coordinator
NH Veterans for Peace
PS: A letter to the Manchester Union Leader said that the expansion of Medicaid will cost the taxpayers of NH $126 million over 10 years. She neglected to add that NH taxpayers will be sending Israel $116 million over 10 years as part of the $30 billion aid package George W. Bush signed and now, Barak Obama wants to increase to $40 billion! Surely, our NH tax dollars should go to support our veterans and low income folks rather than sending over $116 million to the world’s fourth largest military and to an economically viable country.