NH House Leaders call on President Obama to expand state flexibility, give NH help in balancing budget

CONCORD – New Hampshire House Speaker William O’Brien and House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt today called on President Obama to give states greater flexibility in their Medicaid programs by easing the mandates included in the new federal health care reform law. 


Today’s New York Times suggests that Obama will allow states to opt out of certain provisions of the law in 2014, before they were originally expected to be in place until 2017.  O’Brien and Bettencourt called on the President to go further and ease “maintenance of effort” regulations included in the law that mandate that states cannot change Medicaid eligibility or benefit levels to help the New Hampshire solve its nearly $1 billion budget deficit.


House Speaker William O’Brien


“Medicaid is the largest program in New Hampshire government, and handcuffing our ability to manage this program at a time when we need to find savings across all areas of the budget means that we will need to make deeper cuts elsewhere.  While I applaud the President for offering some flexibility on some aspects of the Obamacare law, he should move immediately to give relief from the regulations that are stifling states’ efforts to balance their budgets across the country.  We need the federal government to get out of the way.”


House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt


“When the Democrats rammed through Obamacare last year, it was clear that they didn’t worry about its impact to state budgets.  Now, it’s becoming apparent just how far they overreached and how much it is damaging our ability to solve the billion dollar budget hole that House Republicans inherited this year.  The least that President Obama can do is lift the crushing burden that his ill-conceived attempt at government-run health care has on New Hampshire citizens.  We are committed to balancing the budget with no tax or fee increases, but it would make the task a little easier without this regulation tying our hands.”