Radical Tea Party Ideology Driving Senate Rejection of $2.5 Billion in Federal Health Care Dollars
Concord - Ignoring evidence that expanded Medicaid would strengthen the economic security of countless families and reduce health concerns for thousands of New Hampshire residents, Republicans in the state senate moved to reject $2.5 billion in federal funding for the expansion. Independent experts predict that New Hampshire would gain over 5,000 new jobs, and see household spending on health care will drop by almost $100 million statewide. Further, analysis in another state found that expanding Medicaid could significantly reduce crippling medical expenses among the poor while also decrease the rate of depression and mental illness.
"Today Senate Republicans revealed their true agenda: whatever the Tea Party wants. Instead of siding with New Hampshire families by looking for ways to improve health care and strengthen our state's economic security, Republicans in the Senate are siding with the most radical elements of their base," said New Hampshire Democratic Party Communication Director Harrell Kirstein. "With Peter Bragdon, Jeb Bradley and Andy Sanborn in the lead, Senate Republicans have turned their back on working families and broken their promise to strengthen New Hampshire's economy."
The Senate Republicans press release ignored testimony from New Hampshire individuals who would benefit from expanded Medicaid and from non-partisan policy experts. Additionally, their release referenced a United States Supreme Court decision from over a year ago, granting states flexibility in expanding their Medicaid programs.
"After twiddling their thumbs and ignoring clear evidence of the potential for improved health care and economic security for New Hampshire families, now they want to spend $200,000 taxpayer dollars to study the issue. What exactly have Bragdon, Bradley and Sanborn been doing for the past twelve months?" asked Kirstein. "Rather than accept federal funding to improve health care in New Hampshire, Senate Republicans are taking their cues from the far right-wing and Koch brothers funded Tea Party. It is shameful they care so little for countless New Hampshire families that could benefit from the expansion, that they are have no qualms about refusing federal funding that could improve their lives."
Republican Governors across the country have moved to accept federal funding for Medicaid expansion. Republican Chris Christie in New Jersey, Republican John Kasich in Ohio, Republican Rick Scott in Florida and other Republicans across the country have all announced they will be accepting the federal funding for expansion. [National Medicaid Map]
"For Republicans and Democrats in countless states this isn't a partisan issue," continued Kirstein. "But sadly, once again New Hampshire Republicans prove there are out of touch not just with the voters they are supposed to represent, but even with national members of their own party. They are truly the face and voice of the irresponsible Tea Party and radical conservatives."
Expanded Medicaid Would Improve Health and Economic Security of NH Families
STUDY: "Medicaid Virtually Wiped Out Crippling Medical Expenses Among The Poor." "The big news is that Medicaid virtually wiped out crippling medical expenses among the poor: The percentage of people who faced catastrophic out-of-pocket medical expenditures (that is, greater than 30 percent of annual income) declined from 5.5 percent to about 1 percent. In addition, the people on Medicaid were about half as likely to experience other forms of financial strain-like borrowing money or delaying payments on other bills because of medical expenses." [The New Republic, 5/1/2013]
STUDY: "People On Medicaid Ended Up With Significantly Better Mental Health." "The other big finding was that people on Medicaid ended up with significantly better mental health: The rate of depression among Medicaid beneficiaries was 30 percent lower than the rate of depression among people who remained uninsured. That's not just good health policy. That's good fiscal policy, given the enormous costs that mental health problems impose on society-by reducing productivity, increasing the incidence of violence and self-destructive behavior, and so on." [The New Republic,5/1/2013]
Accepting Federal Funding for Expanded Medicaid Would Bring NH "Number of Economic Benefits." The non-partisan New Hampshire fiscal policy institute found, "if New Hampshire takes the federal money, it will enjoy a number of economic benefits as well. It will gain an average of 5,100 new jobs; the state will enjoy a $2.8 billion increase in gross state product; personal income will increase by more than $2 billion, and; household spending on health care will drop by almost $100 million statewide." [NHFPI Testimony, 5/9/2013]