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Entries in Obamacare (20)

Monday
Dec022013

Citizens For A Strong NH - NH's Obamacare Trio is Hiding 

"New Hampshire's Obamacare Trio is Hiding"
By: Derek Dufresne

 

 


Zero. Zilch. Nada. No matter how you say it, that's the number of public Town Hall meetings Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) and Rep. Anne McLane-Kuster (NH-02) have hosted on ObamaCare since being sworn into office in January. It has even been longer than that since Senator Jeanne Shaheen hosted a public forum for Granite Staters to discuss the most important topic of the day. New Hampshire's "ObamaCare Trio" have made it their mission to avoid us, their constituents.

Despite thousands of New Hampshire residents being affected by the failing law that all three of the aforementioned politicians supported, they have taken to the Washington DC strategy of hiding in order to protect their careers. Instead of actively engaging with those most affected by their votes, Sen. Shaheen, Rep. Shea-Porter and Rep. Kuster, all who have voted to exempt themselves from ObamaCare, have effectively screened themselves from those who are forced to live with it.

For months, Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire has been calling on Sen. Shaheen, Rep. Shea-Porter and Rep. Kuster to host public Town Hall meetings where those who have lost their health insurance or seen their premiums increase can come together to tell their elected officials how detrimental ObamaCare has been to their families. We have been asking them to provide a venue where they can listen to the small business owners who have been forced to cut back employees' hours and are timid about expanding and growing their companies out of fear from mandates within the law. However, Sen. Shaheen, Rep. Shea-Porter and Rep. Kuster have refused to do so. At this point, the message is clear - New Hampshire's "ObamaCare Trio" have no interest in hearing from Granite Staters about the failing law they continue to support.

While it is likely they are avoiding New Hampshire residents because they know they will not like what their constituents will have to say about it, that is no excuse. New Hampshire has a long tradition of its elected officials, regardless of political affiliation, returning home from Washington to discuss their votes and positions on the issues with their constituents. In fact, before she was a congresswoman, one member of New Hampshire's "ObamaCare Trio," Rep. Shea-Porter, used to attend several of former Rep. Jeb Bradley's many Town Hall meetings herself. Now that she holds the office, does she believe she is immune from the kinds of criticism she used to give the former congressman?

On behalf of the tens of thousands of Granite Staters who have already been negatively affected by ObamaCare and the countless more who will be as more of the law is implemented, we once again call on New Hampshire's "ObamaCare Trio" to stop hiding. Stop putting your political careers and your paycheck ahead of real New Hampshire residents who are feeling the pain from your continued support for the failing law. Sen. Shaheen,Rep. Shea-Porter, and Rep. Kuster, perhaps if you stopped hiding from your constituents and actually listened to what they had to say about the disaster known as ObamaCare, you might realize why so many of us are imploring you to stop supporting it.  
 
Derek Dufresne is the spokesman for Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire, which is a diverse, nonpartisan coalition of concerned citizens, community leaders and other stakeholders concerned with promoting and preserving strong families and a strong economy for New Hampshire.

 

Friday
Oct262012

Carol Shea-Porter - For the Rest of Us 

The 2012 campaign season is rapidly coming to a close. The commercials are as thick and dark and biting as black flies, and mailers warn voters to beware of Candidate X or Y. Just this week, one special interest group bought $2 million dollars of ads against me, which is more than I will spend for my whole campaign. Voters will have to wade through it all and make a decision. I hope they will vote for me for Congress because I care deeply about our state and our country and I will serve the good people of New Hampshire, not special interests.

I am a proud direct descendent of General John Stark, whose words “Live Free or Die” are frequently quoted. My roots are deep, and I know, love, and respect this great little state of ours. I grew up in a Republican family and I remember how New Hampshire Republicans and Democrats could disagree about policy but still come together to serve our communities. I believe we must do that again—walk away from the tea party agenda that divides us and join together with a renewed sense of purpose and unity to tackle our problems. During my four years in Congress, I was known for my advocacy for the middle class, for small businesses, and for the American dream. As the Seacoast Media Group and the Portsmouth Herald said, “Our interests were her interests.” I never accepted corporate PAC or DC lobbyist money. I cosponsored the Fair Elections Now Act and the DISCLOSE Act, because without campaign finance reform, we cannot tame the extraordinary influences of special interests that hurt ordinary Americans. I want to continue my efforts for campaign finance reform in Congress.

I served our military and veterans on the Armed Services Committee. As a former military spouse and proud wife of a veteran, I was especially happy to pass the new GI Bill of Rights that thanks our combat veterans with great education benefits. I introduced the bill to get a full-service VA Hospital or equal access to in-state care, and succeeded in getting more clinics and an acute care contract with Concord Hospital. Right now, New Hampshire does not have a Representative on the House Armed Services Committee, which is especially unfortunate because the current Congress’ vote for the Sequester has put New Hampshire defense jobs and jobs at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in jeopardy. I want to return to the House Armed Services Committee to advocate for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, its defense mission, and their incredible workforce.

Serving on the Education and Labor Committee, I cosponsored legislation that cut student loan interest rates in half and increased Pell grants for students. I cosponsored the minimum wage increase, which became law, and cosponsored the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which restores a woman’s right to challenge unfair pay, also now the law of the land. I want to serve New Hampshire workers, small businesses, and families again in Congress.

I stood up for the New Hampshire environment. From the Ossipee Pine Barrens to land preservation around Great Bay, from the Presidential Range to clean water, I worked for funding to study and protect our environment.

I held seminars and workshops to help small businesses, including one in Manchester in 2010 to help small defense contractors compete for federal contracts that drew more than 150 people. I voted for the Small Business Jobs Act and eight small-business tax cuts. The Seacoast Media Group and the Portsmouth Herald wrote in their endorsement, “Voters who value bipartisanship will remember Shea-Porter’s outstanding work with her Republican colleagues from Maine and New Hampshire to safeguard funding for the new Memorial Bridge and much needed upgrades at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.”

We passed the health care law, saved the American auto industry and all of its jobs, and prevented a Depression. All of these were great accomplishments. But now we need to grow the economy, reduce the debt, protect Medicare from being changed to a voucher program, and help young people get an education and their piece of the American dream. I know we can do it—it is in the American DNA to tackle problems and succeed. I want to work on these issues for the rest of us.  I would be honored to receive your vote on November 6th.

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Former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter represented New Hampshire’s First District from 2007-2011, she is seeking a third term in the November, 2012 election.  She wrote the proposal for and established a non-profit, social service agency, which continues to serve all ages.  She taught politics and history and is a strong supporter of Medicare and Social Security.

Saturday
Sep152012

Carol Shea-Porter - The Truth about the Independent Payment Advisory Board 

There are only two months left before voters go to the polls. They will cast their lot with either President BarackObama or with Mitt Romney, and they will also choose a member of Congress who will be in President Obama's party or in Mr. Romney's camp. Money is pouring into both the Presidential races now, and also into the Congressional races across the country, especially swing states like New Hampshire.  While I abhor the amount of money being spent by outside groups, and wish that Congressman Frank Guinta had agreed to sign a statement with me asking that outside groups stay out of our race, I am more concerned about the inaccurate messages that their money might spread across our state’s television sets.

I have listened to the false charge that President Obama and the Congressional Democrats “robbed” $716 billion from Medicare. The press and factcheck.org have done a good job explaining the facts about the $716 billion—how it actually was savings generated by stopping insurance companies who run Medicare Advantage from charging taxpayers 14% more, and by other administrative cost savings. Seniors now realize that not one dollar in benefits will be cut from their Medicare, and they also know that, as former President Clinton said, it was "brassy" of Paul Ryan to accuse Democrats of "robbing" Medicare and then include those savings in his own budget. Case closed.

However, there is a new claim about Medicare, a scary claim that is also false.  I heard our congressman, Frank Guinta, say it to a room full of seniors this week. This new claim insists that that a new board established under the Affordable Care Act, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), will, in Congressman Frank Guinta's words, "make decisions for every Medicare recipient as to change whether, say you need a hip replacement or some sort of surgical procedure." Congressman Frank Guinta went on to say, "We're talking about every single procedure, this board will make those decisions." If that were true, that would be terrifying. Fortunately, it is false, and we need to reassure people that nobody is going to stop their hip replacements.

So, exactly what is the IPAB, as it is commonly called, and what do they do?  The Republicans falsely accuse them of being "bureaucrats." The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities describes it very well. "The board must include physicians and other health professionals, experts in health finance, health services researchers, employers, and representatives of consumers and the elderly. To prevent control by special interests, health care providers may not constitute a majority of the board's membership.”

So, clearly these are not bureaucrats. But Pat Boone and others have misled seniors in political attack ads that are funded by an outside conservative group called 60 Plus Association.

FactCheck.org says that the health care law, "explicitly says that the IPAB's proposals ‘shall not include any recommendation to ration health care, raise revenues or Medicare beneficiary premiums...increase Medicare beneficiary costsharing (including deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments), or otherwise restrict benefits or modify eligibility criteria.’”

This does not stop Republican politicians from shouting the word "rationing," although it is wrong and shameful to mislead seniors who rely on full access to medical treatment to keep them well. It is particularly "brassy,” since Paul Ryan and the Congressional Republicans actually voted to turn Medicare into a voucher program.

Let's let USA Today, a very sensible, right-in-the-middle newspaper, have the final say on the Independent Payment Advisory Board. In a 4/9/12 editorial called "Medicare Cost Panel is Common Sense," it says, "The Medicare board seems like a common-sense mechanism. The reason it engenders such heated opposition is that like the ‘death panels,’ it's a convenient way to scare people into opposing health reform—facts to the contrary."

Don't be fooled by these false claims, or any others. Educate yourself and your neighbors before Election Day. Facts are stubborn things, as we all know, and we should all be armed with the truth if we are going to be fully informed citizens at the polls. Knowledge is power—use it.

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Former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter represented New Hampshire’s First District from 2007-2011, she is seeking a third term in the November, 2012 election.  She wrote the proposal for and established a non-profit, social service agency, which continues to serve all ages.  She taught politics and history and is a strong supporter of Medicare and Social Security.

 

Tuesday
Aug212012

Shannon McGinley - Religious Liberty is Literally Under Attack

By Shannon McGinley, acting executive director of Cornerstone Action

When President Obama visited Rochester, N.H., last week, he asked the Sisters of the St. Charles Children Home to sit behind him; an offer they declined. And when the president’s staffers said they’d be using the home as a backdrop for the president’s rally, Sister Mary Agnes covered the organization’s sign with a new message: “Pray for Religious Freedom.”

As I join the Sisters in prayer for our inalienable natural right to religious liberty, which is protected by both our state and federal constitutions, I thought the Sisters’ statement deserved a bit of public meditation to clarify exactly how severely this right has come under attack by this president and those who agree with him.

It is with great sorrow that I can so easily point to the shooting last week at the Family Research Council in Washington as an example. On Wednesday, bigot Floyd Lee Corkins II opened fire in the council lobby, stating, “I don’t like your politics.” He injured the building’s security guard, who stopped what could have easily become a massacre. Reportedly, the homosexual-rights activist also had the address for the Traditional Values Coalition on his person, along with a full box of ammunition. Both organizations defend religious liberty and advocate for traditional marriage as the bedrock of society, which it is.

If only this were an isolated incident. My counterpart at the Family Institute of Connecticut Action, Peter Wolfgang, said he has been receiving death threats from a homosexual activist, who has finally been charged and will appear in court this week. It’s really sad commentary that we have to wait for tragedy before anyone takes people’s hateful threats seriously. It would be even more tragic, however, if these attacks silenced the political debate about religious freedom that led to these attacks.

In a sense, these actual attacks symbolize the problem facing religious liberty in today’s America. Whether it’s a leftist lunatic with a gun or the government with its laws and regulations, liberals are now using coercion in an attempt to drive faith out of the lives of citizens and business owners. It is not politically correct, or physically safe for that matter, for citizens to openly express their deeply held religious beliefs, unless of course they are practicing secular humanism, which is now the well-established religion of our government.

Thanks to the president and his Obamacare law, the government is now forcing business owners to violate their deepest held beliefs just to make a living. This isn’t about access to contraception or abortion pills; two medical treatments that are available to people who want to pay for them. This is about government inventing a right to force religious people to pay for that contraception or those abortion pills even if they morally object. This is about government declaring by fiat that the fake right it now recognizes supersedes the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Rights of Conscience clause in the N.H. Constitution.

To fully grasp the significance of this stance, consider for a moment whether you would think it’s OK for government to force a Quaker manufacturing company to produce weapons that will be used in the war on terror. Should government force the owner of an animal-rights conscious cosmetics-supply company to pay for torturous experiments using chimpanzees and kittens? Should government force a state prison employee to administer an execution drug to a convicted capital felon even though the employee has a conscientious objection to the death penalty?

Are these scenarios really any different than the government forcing a photographer who disagrees with the homosexual lifestyle to photograph a homosexual “commitment ceremony”? The New Mexico Human Rights Commission did just that when it fined Elane Photography more than $6,000 for refusing to participate in a gay ceremony. The government also tried to force Bill Newland at his Denver-based Hercules Industries to pay for his employees’ abortion pills. And Boston Mayor Thomas Menino as well as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told Chick Fil-A it wasn’t welcome because of the owner’s open statements that homosexual “marriage” should not take place.

In the end, it doesn’t matter what ethical issue is at stake. Government should not be able to force people to do something that violates their freedom of conscience. Government should not be able to fine people or prohibit people from earning a living simply because they choose to exercise their religious liberty. These concepts are dangerous in a free society, and could ultimately lead to the end of freedom itself.

All Americans, whether acting as individuals or business owners, should be able to express and live out their religious beliefs in their public life without sacrificing their hard-earned dollars or their freedom. And it is for this type of religious liberty that we all need to pray.

Tuesday
Jul102012

Carolyn McKinney - Obamacare will be a leading campaign issue in state and national elections

By Carolyn McKinney, chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire

Most citizens who understand the U.S. Constitution's limits on federal power know that the U.S. Supreme Court's Obamacare opinion is not supported by logic or even common sense, but they also know that the opinion could be expected from a federal government that is increasingly out-of-touch and out-of-control.

Thankfully, in New Hampshire we had a Republican Legislature this session that used its 10th Amendment authority to stand up to the federal government's Obamacare overreach with three bills that are now state law. In fact, HB 1297, an act prohibiting the implementation of a state-based exchange, was specifically tailored to position the state to resist Obamacare despite the Court's ruling in National Federation of Independent Businesses Et. Al. v. Sebelius, which upholds most of it.

By prohibiting a state exchange in HB 1297, state law forces the federal government to set one up for New Hampshire, which is something it isn't prepared to do. Not only do flaws in federal law require it to be amended before it can be implemented, its implementation will take time and money that the federal Health and Human Services Department doesn't have. This delay will give Congress the chance to repeal or amend the law and the state Legislature the chance to craft further protections before the new bureaucracy can be set up.

We all know Obamacare lovers will try to set up the law anyway, but HB 1297 also instructs state bureaucrats to resist the federal government's takeover of insurance regulation and preserve their own authority. Generally, all government regulatory authority can be onerous, but in this battle to preserve state sovereignty, HB 1297 requires state bureaucrats to use their authority to preserve New Hampshire's free market for health insurance, to ensure an equal playing field for commercial insurers as the federal government attempts to step in, and to promote competition and consumer choice.

To make sure state bureaucrats respect the intent of HB 1297, the law requires that they get the approval of the Joint Health Insurance Reform Oversight Committee, set up last year by HB 601, before they do anything at all. It also requires that they get the advice of a private-sector advisory board designed to look after the interests of New Hampshire businesses and consumers before they even approach the Oversight Committee.

Additionally, HB 1297 requires state bureaucrats, with the consent of the Oversight Committee, to preserve “the state’s flexibility in determining Medicaid eligibility standards and program design and operation.” This section of the bill directly benefits from one part of the Court's Obamacare decision, which said Congress has the power to bribe states with new dollars to voluntarily adopt new Medicaid programs, but it does not have the power to take away prior funding for existing Medicaid programs if a state does not adopt the new provisions of the law. Thus, the Oversight Committee and the New Hampshire Legislature can and should block any attempt to expand New Hampshire's Medicaid program, which will save the state millions of dollars.

As the Court said: “It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.” That is why it will be up to the people to elect leaders for state and federal government in 2012 who will continue to resist the law at the state level and either repeal or amend it at the federal level. After all, it is the people we elect to state government who will define the make-up of the Joint Health Insurance Reform Oversight Committee, and who decide whether to continue to resist Obamacare and whether to block the expansion of Medicaid.

One of the first things the next Legislature should do is introduce a bill to strengthen the opt-out provisions created last year via SB 148, which protects New Hampshire residents from being forced to buy an individual health insurance policy unless they were specifically named in a Court case or administrative proceeding. It also protects residents from having to pay “any penalty, assessment, fee or fine” for not buying the insurance. With the Court's opinion that the individual mandate is a tax on those without insurance, a new bill should clarify that the State of New Hampshire will defend citizens who choose not to pay the tax, even if a Court case or administrative proceeding says otherwise.

Additionally, budget writers will need to be on guard against state Insurance Department or Health and Human Services Department requests that advance the idea of a “partnership” health insurance exchange between the state and federal government. While not technically a state exchange, which is now prohibited, a partnership exchange allows the state to run many of the functions of a state exchange under the auspices of federal control. This, in reality, would be no different than a state exchange and would be just as costly. To truly resist the implementation of Obamacare, the Legislature should resist any attempt to fund a partnership exchange, or anything like it.

Finally, the Legislature should continue to pursue free market ideas for health insurance that resist modern trends toward government regulation or control. One such transitional idea is a law that allows insurance companies to sell policies without all of the state or federal insurance coverage mandates, so long as they also sell policies that include all of the mandates. Hopefully, more free market ideas, such as eliminating all mandates so the free market can set the cost of true insurance at its market rate and let consumers decide what they want, will come later. Such choice in the market, despite any penalties for defying federal law, will attract companies and consumers who will pave the way for less expensive and more effective health coverage in the future.