Hassan Opposes Lamontagne-Smith-O’Brien Proposal to Takeover Medicare

MANCHESTER, NH – Democratic candidate for Governor Maggie Hassan today stood with New Hampshire seniors in opposing Ovide Lamontagne, Kevin Smith and Speaker Bill O’Brien’s plan for a legislative takeover of Medicare.  Today the Union Leader reported that Smith “would also try to form compacts with surrounding states,” that would result in block grants for Medicare.  The New Hampshire State Committee on Aging has come out strongly against this proposal.  


“Ovide Lamontagne, Kevin Smith and the Bill O'Brien legislature have supported drastic cuts to our hospitals and to other institutions that Granite Staters count on,” said Hassan. “So when they talk about taking over Medicare, you can bet that they don't intend to make subtle reforms -- they intend to make drastic cuts that will make it impossible for our seniors to receive the benefits that the current Medicare program provides.  The question is: what would they cut first? Prescription drugs?  Doctor’s visits? Preventive care?” 


“Lamontagne, Smith and O’Brien’s plan will cut Medicare benefits and put politicians and insurance company bureaucrats in charge of senior’s health care,” continued Hassan. “That is wrong.  Medicare works for seniors here and all across the country – and as Governor, I’ll fight to make sure it continues to work for New Hampshire.”


“I proudly stand with New Hampshire seniors to protect their health care,” said Hassan. “This legislature has already made dangerous cuts to health care funding that adversely affects thousands of Granite Staters. We certainly can’t trust Ovide Lamontagne, Kevin Smith or the current legislature with Medicare.”


Last month, the New Hampshire House passed HB 1560 that would create “an interstate health care compact.” Under the proposal, states would receive block grants from the federal government and would take over Medicare, the health insurance program for seniors.  Senior advocates say the plan “would have a major and potentially destructive impact on health care for seniors.” 


In a recent op-ed, Ovide Lamontagne said the takeover of Medicare would be one of his top priorities as governor.  Lamontagne has also expressed support for U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, which would make seniors pay more for health care and put private for-profit health insurers in charge of their care. Other advocates have deemed this proposal “revolutionary” – and that’s exactly what it is: a revolutionary change that would take away health care for New Hampshire seniors.  


Russ Armstrong, Chairman of the State Committee on Aging, wrote in a recent Concord Monitor Op-Ed that “the State Committee on Aging does not lightly take strong positions on pending legislation. However, HB 1560 is so egregious and potentially dangerous to the future of senior health care that we adamantly oppose the bill. Seniors should be aware of the threats to their health care and encourage their legislators to oppose this bill.”


In op-eds, appearances and in interviews Lamontagne and Smith have supported schemes that would result in block grants for Medicare. 

Ovide Lamontagne backs block granting Medicare.  In a Union Leader op-ed outlining his priorities if elected Governor, Lamontagne wrote that “I will also seek block grants of Medicaid and Medicare to deregulate health care, while working for free-market reforms to bring competition to our health care delivery system and insurance markets and ensure high-quality, lower-cost care and coverage for all.”  [Union Leader, 2/10/12]


Ovide Lamontagne supports block granting Medicare.  In an interview with Congressional Quarterly, Lamontagne said “I want the federal government to block grant Medicare and Medicaid.”  [CQ Interview, 1/9/12]


Kevin Smith backs health care compacts.  The Union Leader reported that “Smith would also try to form compacts with surrounding states to purchase health care coverage…”  [Union Leader, 4/9/12]


Lamontagne Supported Ryan Plan, Pledged to Work With Him in Washington.  At a New Hampshire Farm Bureau event in August 2010, the following exchange occurred:


“Questioner: Which of the present US Congressman, whether it be in the Senate or the House do you most admire in the way they have conducted themselves?


Lamontagne: … Paul Ryan in the Congress. What an amazingly bright man who’s talking about what Republicans stand for. We’re not just a party of no. Or if you’re going to sue our state of Arizona we’re the party of hell no.  We’re a party of being proactive and Paul Ryan has got a great plan. It’s called ‘road map for America’. It’s on his website, you should check it out. It’s got entitlement reforms, strategies for balancing our federal budget. I’m gonna work with Paul Ryan, I’m gonna work with Jim DeMint, the new leadership of this party.”

[New Hampshire Farm Bureau Picnic, 8/11/10]