Concord, NH - Today, Democratic Leadership in the House and Senate launched a campaign to protect Medicare in New Hampshire from the reckless Republican takeover contained in HB1560. The bill sponsored by Republican House Majority Leader DJ Bettencourt and Republican Senate Finance Chair Chuck Morse, but written by out of state special interests, would give the legislature full discretion to raise the eligibility age and slash services for New Hampshire's senior citizens on Medicare.
"In short, this bill will end Medicare as we know it in New Hampshire," said Senator Sylvia Larsen. "But sadly, it doesn't stop there. It would also take over Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program(CHIP) and other federally funded health care initiatives. Surely you don't have to be a doctor to see this is a disastrous plan for health care in our state."
"This bill puts Tea Party ideology before the best interests of the people of New Hampshire, would cripple Medicare, and is an unconstitutional attempt to supersede federal law," said Representative Terie Norelli. "Unfortunately the sponsors are not backbenchers or freshmen representatives; it is the Republican leadership in both the House and Senate."
"New Hampshire's senior citizens have paid their share into Medicare for decades," said Senator D'Allesandro. "Democrats will not allow this legislature to break the promise made to those hard working men and women."
"Not only does this bill defy common sense, it is the definition of fiscal irresponsibility,"said Representative Mary Jane Wallner. "In tough economic times when Medicaid participation typically increases, New Hampshire taxpayers would see their tax rates skyrocket. This Republican legislature already passed an irresponsible and unbalanced budget that killed nearly 2,000 jobs. Their reckless fiscal policies must be stopped."
The full text of the petition is below.
New Hampshire Republicans: Don't End Medicare in the Granite State
As part of their reckless Tea Party agenda, New Hampshire Republicans in Concord want to end Medicare as we know it.
Republican House Majority Leader DJ Bettencourt and Republican Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Morse have sponsored HB1560, which would end Medicare in New Hampshire. Instead of a stable, reliable Medicare plan, seniors would be subjected to a budget process every two years that could slash benefits and services at the whim of the state legislature. The legislature also could choose to eliminate the Children's Health Insurance Program. This irresponsible bill would attempt to nullify federal law and put thousands of Granite State senior citizens and children at risk of losing health insurance and health care services.
We successfully defended Medicare from Republicans in Congress and with your support we will stop Concord Republicans from taking over of Medicare, too.
HB1560 is not only fiscally irresponsible, it also could endanger the health of New Hampshire's senior citizens, disabled and low income residents by eliminating coverage for proven treatments and disease prevention services. At least 350,000 New Hampshire residents would lose their stable, reliable Medicare and Medicaid coverage.
Even the extremely conservative Union Leader editorial board called the bill "strange" and "convoluted," and argued it violates Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution. HB1560 would leave discretion for operating Medicare, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program and other federally funded health care initiatives in the hands of the legislature. From slashing coverage to raising the eligibility age, every year radical and dangerous changes would be on the table.