New Hampshire Senate Democrats Continue Fight for Health Care Coverage

Fo r Immediate Release

Contact: Molly Cowan

Phone: 603 271-3077

Fax: 603 271-3027

Email: molly.cowan@leg.state.nh.us

Friday, February 24, 2006

CONCORD, NH –Senate Democrats continued their fight yesterday to expand health care coverage for uninsured New Hampshire citizens on the Senate floor . All six initiatives introduced to address the growing number of uninsured citizens in New Hampshire and the cost of heath care were supported by the eight Senate Democrats.

“The number of New Hampshire citizens who cannot afford health insurance is growing every day ,” stated Senate Democratic Leader Sylvia Larsen, District 15. “ Yesterday , the Senate had the opportunity to pass three low or no-cost health insurance plans that were simply killed with little consideration. It’s time we paid a lot more attention to the problem of affordable access to health insurance in the State of New Hampshire. Whether it’s for our day care workers, home care workers, small business and working families or those serving our mental health and disabled populations, the more we can increase health insurance coverage options, the more we’ll reduce health costs and costly emergency room crisis’ .”

At the end of 2005, there were an estimated 130,000 New Hampshire residents living without health insurance. Young families with no means of paying for health insurance coverage comprise most of the uninsured population.

Senator Martha Fuller Clark (D-District 24) sponsored three bills to address the problem of increasing health care costs, they included legislation aimed at increasing COBRA coverage for people between the ages of 55 and 65, legislation lowering the cost of health care, and legislation increasing the number of working people eligible for health insurance . Refuting comments from one Republican Senator, who dismissed the need for increased access to health insurance, Senator Fuller Clark stated, “When faced with high rent, food and fuel payments, and skyrocketing health insurance coverage many people will forgo health insurance . Our goal is to increase access, affordability, and quality of health care for all New Hampshire residents.”

Sen. Fuller Clark concluded “The New Hampshire Senate Democrats firmly believe we must develop accessible and affordable health insurance options, and we will continue to work on expanding those options to every uninsured person in New Hampshire.”