NH House Leaders Comment on Hospitals’ Lawsuit

CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien and House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt today offered the following statement in response to the Medicaid reimbursement lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Concord against the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services.

House Speaker William O’Brien:

“The hospitals’ lawsuit is ill founded legally and a disservice to the people of New Hampshire. It seeks a special status for them by confusing two different federally mandated funding obligations. Also, they are asking the court to rule that a letter sent by a long-departed state employee to a hospital lobbyist two decades ago forms a perpetual bar against responsible budgeting. The Governor and legislature have made a number of difficult fiscal decisions in order for state government to spend within its means. Every group received cuts in order to deliver a budget that balanced honestly, and the hospitals are one of many groups that will see less money. The alternative to this would be a huge tax increase for the working families of New Hampshire, which is unacceptable,” said O’Brien.

House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt:

“Every organization across New Hampshire received funding cuts in order to deliver a budget that closed a nearly billion dollar deficit, and the hospitals are one of numerous groups that will share in the sacrifice and see reductions in spending. With increasing pressure on the federal government to balance its own budget we were faced with a different funding formula from them and cannot continue the so-called ‘Mediscam’ scheme of shifting around federal dollars. Because we refuse to levy this as a tax on New Hampshire citizens, House Republican leadership is working on a contingency plan to cut an additional $250 million from the budget in the case that it becomes necessary as a result of this lawsuit,” said Bettencourt.