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NH House Leaders Comment on Bill to Block ObamaCare Exchanges

CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien (R-Mont Vernon) and House Majority Leader Pete Silva (R-Nashua) today offered the following comments after the House voted to concur with Senate changes to legislation (House Bill 1297) that would block the implementation of ObamaCare health benefits exchanges by state agencies.
House Speaker William O’Brien
“Implementing ObamaCare exchanges here would represent an unfunded mandate of millions of taxpayer dollars each year.  There is no reason to have any New Hampshire citizens waste one penny of their state tax dollars on putting this disastrous policy in place.  This bill makes clear that our state will not participate in bringing ObamaCare here.”
House Majority Leader Pete Silva
“We certainly hope that the Supreme Court throws the entire ObamaCare scheme out next month.  While we wait for their ruling, however, we need to take the steps to ensure that our taxpayers won’t be on the hook for the costs of this attempt to have the federal government take over health care.


NH House Leaders Comment on Passage of Bill to Ship Back ObamaCare Money 

CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien (R-Mont Vernon) and House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt (R-Salem) today commented on the passage of House Bill 1727, which would send the remainder of federal insurance exchange money to plan for implementing ObamaCare in New Hampshire back to Washington with express direction to go toward reducing the federal deficit. The New Hampshire House of Representatives last year voted for a similar bill to send back $666,000 to Washington for the same purposes. HB 1727 passed 218 to 79. 

House Speaker William O’Brien

“The House has already made clear their position on implementing a state health insurance exchange to implement ObamaCare. The resounding answer to this federal overreach has been and will be that we will do all we can in New Hampshire to block ObamaCare. Creating an exchange would only entrench ObamaCare in New Hampshire and serve as a contract with the federal government that the state agrees to pick up the tab for the individual mandate. Several times the House has asked our Attorney General to join the 26-state lawsuit against ObamaCare. We then should not be accepting money to entertain the idea of an exchange nor should we be adopting a strategy that will make us complicit in the law that’s wrong for New Hampshire and that we're trying to overturn.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has just heard the case and it makes no sense to waste taxpayer money, federal or otherwise, on a law stands on very shaky ground. Rejecting this money and these state exchanges adds New Hampshire to the list of states opposing this unconstitutional law. By doing this, it doesn't matter how the Supreme Court rules because flaws in the way federal exchanges would be implemented by the law will force Congress to reopen ObamaCare to make changes since they didn’t account for the cost.

“We have already seen the initial cost estimate of $1 trillion raise to an astounding $1.76 trillion price tag for ObamaCare and there is no telling how high the actual bill could climb. New Hampshire simply can’t afford to take this money that comes with so very many strings attached.”

House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt

“The Josiah Bartlett Institute has estimated that running a healthcare exchange in New Hampshire would cost between $10 and $20 million dollars annually. In a biennium budget for a small state like New Hampshire, $40 million is nothing to sneeze at. Furthermore, as far as these exchanges go, there is no such thing as local control. The House will keep our promises to voters by doing our part in the continuing fight against ObamaCare, which would be the nail in the coffin of the New Hampshire Advantage.”


NH House Leaders Comment on Bill Blocking Implementation of Obamacare in New Hampshire

CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien (R-Mont Vernon) and House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt (R-Salem) today offered the following comments in response to the House passing House Bill 1297, legislation that prohibits the state from implementing a state health care exchange for the federal health care reform act. The bill passed by a majroity voice vote.
House Speaker William O’Brien
“The Josiah Bartlett Center estimates that the cost of running a state health care exchange will be between $10 million and $20 million a year, and not one penny will be paid for by the federal government.  Not only will ObamaCare be unaffordable for our citizens, but for state taxpayers as well.  Given the costs associated with this federal takeover of the country’s health care system, there is no way New Hampshire taxpayers should get stuck with an unfunded mandate to put this deeply flawed law into place.  The House has, once again, sent a clear message that we oppose ObamaCare, we support New Hampshire taxpayers, we support New Hampshire businesses and workers and we will take the steps necessary to protect Granite Staters and block it here.”
House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt

"This bill has added New Hampshire to the growing list of states that are committed to opposing the President’s unconstitutional healthcare mandate. These exchanges have repeatedly been a ploy by the President to coerce states into paving the way for the implementation of ObamaCare while also forcing them to bear the burden of its future costs. By stopping this exchange the Legislature has not only stood up for our local control, but also the continuation of our New Hampshire Advantage."


NH House Speaker Responds to Cilley Attacks on Religious Freedom 

CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien (R-Mont Vernon) today offered the following response on remarks made Thursday by Democrat gubernatorial candidate Jackie Cilley. 

House Speaker William O’Brien

“Cilley’s misguided, Ahab-like quest to implement ObamaCare in New Hampshire has reached an all-time, shocking low. Asking Catholics to abandon their religion in favor of her leftist ideology is unnecessary, cynical, unconstitutional and completely contrary to the tenants this country was founded upon. Cilley should apologize to Catholics and reconsider her race for Governor.

Her Obama tactics of dividing the voters by using vitriol and hatred is not the New Hampshire way and not what our citizens need. New Hampshire has a long and proud history of support for religious tolerance and there was a time not too long ago when this principle was not a partisan issue. In fact, it was the late Sen. Ted Kennedy who wrote that he believed in and would continue to advocate for a conscience protection for Catholics in the health field.

Cilley’s attacks on Rep. Lynne Blankenbeker, who is both a war veteran and a nurse, were uncalled for and inappropriate. Rep. Blankenbeker has been a tremendous role model for women across New Hampshire in serving her constituents and her country. We can have an honest and full debate without needing to resort to distortions such as any allegation that this is about denying women’s health or is an anti-contraception issue and without denying our citizens their constitutional First Amendment right of freedom of religion.”


House Leaders Statement on Resolution Protecting Against ObamaCare Attacks on Religious Liberties

CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien (R-Mont Vernon) and House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt (R-Salem) today offered the following statement on the passage of House Resolution 29, which would instruct Congress to protect churches from being forced to purchase services, such as health insurance policies, that offend religious faith. The resolution passed 227 to 121.

House Speaker William O’Brien:

“House Resolution 29 is not about the merits of contraception.  It is not about whether insurers choose to offer coverage for these services in their policies. It also is not about the Catholic Church’s policies on contraception, sterilization or any other of its teachings or beliefs. Rather, HR 29 stands up for our religious institutions that have long-held principles and teachings under assault by a president and his ideology that seeks not merely to reject, but to tear down our liberties.

“Whether these groups would be forced to buy this coverage directly, as ordered by the original ObamaCare regulation, or indirectly, as suggested by the Obama Administration’s replacement accounting gimmick, the idea that a religious group would be compelled to buy a service that it finds morally repugnant and an express renunciation of its beliefs is both contrary to our values and unconstitutional.”

House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt

“House leadership introduced House Resolution 29 to defend New Hampshire’s long and proud history of religious tolerance, while pushing back against the deeply flawed law known as ObamaCare. The new mandate from the Obama administration requiring religious organizations to offer insurance coverage for practices that go against the teachings and tenets of their faith is an unnecessary, cynical and unconstitutional attack on religious institutions. To those who say HR29 detracts from this legislature’s focus on New Hampshire’s economy, let us remind them this issue highlights a critical issue facing our economy, the effect of mandates on the cost of health insurance.

“Health insurance costs in New Hampshire are increasing at dramatic rates. New Hampshire businesses are seeing 60% premium increases. A considerable portion of those increases can be chalked up to state health insurance mandates implemented during the prior four years’ Democrat legislatures and those need to be repealed.  We don’t need new federal mandates to drive the costs even higher. Earlier this legislative session, we passed legislation that repealed seven insurance mandates and this has helped small businesses to escape some cost increases. The extra savings from premiums may even mean there is more money in the pockets of our small businesses to create more jobs. This is the right way to reform the health care industry.  Imposing anti-religious regulations on churches, under the guise of ‘women’s rights,’ achieves no reduction of costs or availability of services and serves only to please leftist ideologues.”


Attachment (1): Rep. Bettencourt floor speech on HR 29