Key Point: "The Senate not only killed a House bill, which was based largely on the recommendations by a bipartisan study commission, but it also killed a Senate bill proposed by minority Democrats and couldn't even pass its own unreasonable phony bill that seemed designed to do nothing but cause Medicaid expansion to fail. We'll be sure to remind voters of this fact in November and we promise to cut through the fog of lies that has been billowing out of the Senate about how it really wanted to extend Medicaid but just couldn't get Democrats to go along."
Portsmouth Herald Editorial: GOP senators are not looking out for citizens
November 26, 2013 2:00 AM
Given the opportunity to help 49,000 low-income adults receive help purchasing health insurance, the New Hampshire Senate did absolutely nothing.
The Senate not only killed a House bill, which was based largely on the recommendations by a bipartisan study commission, but it also killed a Senate bill proposed by minority Democrats and couldn't even pass its own unreasonable phony bill that seemed designed to do nothing but cause Medicaid expansion to fail.
We'll be sure to remind voters of this fact in November and we promise to cut through the fog of lies that has been billowing out of the Senate about how it really wanted to extend Medicaid but just couldn't get Democrats to go along.
Here are the facts:
The Republican Senate killed Medicaid expansion during budget negotiations and took cover by setting up a bipartisan commission to study the topic.
But the bipartisan study commission, led in part by Sen. Nancy Stiles, R-Hampton, and Rep. Tom Sherman, D-Rye, threw the Senate a curveball when it unanimously recommended Medicaid expansion in New Hampshire because it found getting uninsured people into a managed care program is not just the compassionate thing to do, it also makes overwhelming fiscal sense. It is simply cheaper to cover people with Medicaid and provide preventive medicine than to pay for their uninsured treatment in an emergency room when they are in a medical crisis.
When the study commission released its recommendations, we praised Sen. Stiles and Dr. Sherman for helping to craft an intelligent, reasonable, fiscally responsible plan that reflected the stated goals and concerns of both parties. We italicize the word "stated" because clearly, the true goals of the majority of Senate Republicans were far different than their stated goals. They said they wanted to extend health care to working low-income New Hampshire citizens, but what they really wanted to do is kill Medicaid expansion in yet another in the ongoing and endless series of attacks on the Affordable Care Act.
So, instead of accepting the Commission to Study Medicaid Expansion's recommendations, the Senate Republicans proposed an entirely unworkable, alternative plan and then couldn't even pass this built-to-fail proposal.
To be clear, what Republican senators have done is to say "no, thank you" to $2.5 billion in federal tax dollars coming back to the state to help New Hampshire citizens pay for health care. These tax dollars were paid by every New Hampshire resident who pays federal income tax. Republicans can refuse to take the money, but we will still be paying our income taxes. Instead of the money coming back to the state to help us deal with the overwhelming expense of health insurance, that money will go to other states that apparently haven't let political ideology gouge the common sense out of their brains.
When Republican senators tell you that somehow, New Hampshire would have been placed at financial risk by accepting this money, don't believe them. The bipartisan compromise plan, which was largely adopted in the House bill, clearly had an escape clause if the federal government did not meet its obligations.
If Senate Republicans pretend they somehow cared about people getting coverage for three years and then losing it, you can ask them whether they themselves would prefer to have three years of insurance to address health issues rather than no health care at all. As Dr. Sherman noted, you can do a lot of good for a person's health in three years.
In the end, none of this is up to the House or the Senate; it is up to we, the people. If we believe that improving the health of 49,000 men and women with tax dollars we are already paying is a good idea, then we must vote Republican senators out of office. If we believe that we should pay income taxes to the federal government to pay for people's health care in other states while our friends, family and neighbors suffer, then by all means, leave Republicans in control of the Senate.