Health insurance reform extends coverage to 140,000 Granite Staters, lowers costs for small businesses, and reins in abusive insurance practices
Concord - NHDP Chair Ray Buckley, nurse and State Representative Rich DiPentima, small business owner Don Brueggeman, Granite State mother Elaine Kellerman, and New Hampshire citizens held a press conference today to discuss the impact the recent landmark health insurance reform legislation has on Granite State citizens.
"I called this press conference today to put a face to the extraordinary achievement of passing comprehensive health care reform - for a century, presidents have tried and failed to make progress on this critically important issue," said Buckley. "This legislation will immediately improve the lives of people here in New Hampshire, by lowering costs, expanding coverage, and reining in abusive insurance practices."
Elieen Kellerman, a wife and mother of two, echoed Buckley's remarks, and added that her story "was about one family, in one city, in one state. Multiply that by the millions across the country, and you have the face of health insurance reform. The benefits of this legislation are beyond measure."
By creating subsidized high-risk pools, allowing young people to stay on their families' insurance plan until age 26, increasing funding for Community Health Centers, and growing the number of primary care physicians, the legislation expands coverage to the over 140,000 New Hampshire resident currently without health insurance.
And for many of those who currently have coverage, the Affordable Health Care for America Act reduces costs. Starting immediately, nearly 35,000 small businesses in New Hampshire become eligible for tax credits of up 35% of their employee's premium costs. Anyone with a private health insurance plan will be guaranteed preventative care services that are exempt from deductibles and have no co-payments.
The legislation also reins in insurance companies most abusive practices. No longer can children be denied coverage for having a pre-existing condition at birth, nor will insurance companies be able to drop people from coverage when they get sick.
"Health care reform is exciting people all over the state because the new law benefits everyone in New Hampshire, from young people who won't lose insurance as they try to find a job, to senior citizens who are seeing the Medicare Part D 'donut hole' close," continued Buckley.
"It is sadly unsurprising the New Hampshire Republicans want to repeal this historic reform. For the past 12 months they have put the interests of insurance company lobbyists before those of New Hampshire families," added Buckley. "They are apparently fine with insurance companies being able to deny a child born with diabetes or cancer life saving health insurance."
Repeal of the health care reform legislation would be the largest tax increase on middle class families and small businesses in United States history. Over 200,000 senior citizens in New Hampshire would see higher Medicare premiums from the reopening of the donut hole, families who currently have health insurance would see premiums increase by $1,890-$2,710 over the next 6 years, and over 17,000 Granite Staters with pre-existing conditions would be denied coverage.
More detailed information on the benefits the Affordable Health Care Reform for America Act, can be found on the slides displayed at the press conference. Copies can be found here.