CONCORD – Today John B. Hunt (R-Rindge), Co-Chair of the Joint Health Care Reform Oversight Committee, hand delivered the following letter to Governor Hassan’s office, inviting her to attend the committee’s meeting Tuesday morning. In prior communication with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Governor referenced explicitly that, “This letter of intent is provided with the understanding that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) governing the expectations, roles and responsibilities of the State of New Hampshire in a Partnership Exchange will not impose a cost on the state's general fund or create new state programs.” It is the impression of Rep. Hunt and of others on the Joint Health Care Reform Oversight Committee that despite previous commitments, an MOU is no longer being pursued.
The letter is attached and reads as follows:
Governor Margaret Hassan
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
April 8th, 2013
As you are aware, the Joint Health Care Reform Oversight Committee will be meeting at 8:00A.M. on Tuesday, April 8, in room 302 of the LOB. The committee is planning to review and possibly approve the MOU between the State of New Hampshire and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as referenced in your letter of intent to the Secretary on February 13, 2012. (“This letter of intent is provided with the understanding that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) governing the expectations, roles, and responsibilities of the State of New Hampshire in a Partnership Exchange will not impose a cost on the state’s general fund or create new state programs.”)
Unfortunately, we have been unable to obtain a copy of the MOU from your staff or the Department of Insurance after repeated requests. Most recently they have informed us they have unilaterally decided not to execute an MOU despite approval of the partnership letter which included the requirement of a MOU, as well as your previous commitment to work in collaboration with the state legislature on such a document to ensure that New Hampshire maintains flexibility and taxpayers are protected financially. If true, this is very troubling development.
Like you, we wish to work collaboratively with the executive branch to ensure that if New Hampshire moves forward with a Partnership Exchange we do so in a way that promotes preservation of private health insurance to the greatest degree possible, minimizes overhead and administrative expenses of the exchange, promotes competition and consumer choice, and preserves the state’s insurance regulatory authority and the state’s flexibility in determining Medicaid eligibility standards, program design, and operations. That is exactly what the MOU is supposed to help us do.
Therefore, as co-chairman of the Joint Health Care Reform Oversight Committee I am respectfully requesting that you attend our meeting on April 8th so that we can discuss the status of the MOU and the process for moving forward. If due to the late date of this letter you are unable to attend please send whoever in your office is authorized to discuss this issue on your behalf.
Rep. John Hunt