NHDP - Senate Republicans Still Struggling to Find Excuses for Radical Opposition to Medicaid Expansion

Concord – After weeks of debate over expanded Medicaid, New Hampshire Republicans are still struggling to defend their radical opposition to improving the health and economic security of 58,000 New Hampshire taxpayers. 
“The benefits of Medicaid Expansion are clear and have been backed-up by multiple independent studies and sources,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director Harrell Kirstein.  “What isn’t clear is why New Hampshire Republicans are so radically opposed to improving health care and strengthening the economic security of 58,000 New Hampshire workers and creating 700 new Granite State jobs.”
Republicans started their opposition by claiming more study was needed, but after countless letters to the editor, editorials, and phone calls touting the clear evidence for potential health, fiscal, and economic benefits they changed their tune.  Next Republicans tried to claim that New Hampshire would never be able to opt out.  When that was debunked with a letter from the federal Department of Health and Human Services, they once again swapped in new rightwing talking points.  Now Republicans are claiming that Medicaid Expansion simply doesn’t belong in the budget – it’s too complicated.
“The fact is that it’s impossible to defend the New Hampshire Republicans opposition – the numbers aren’t on their side and neither are some of the country’s most conservative Republican leaders,” continued Kirstein.  “It is time for the New Hampshire Republican Party to admit they are all out of excuses, put the people of New Hampshire before their Tea Party ideology, and expand Medicaid in New Hampshire.
Senate Republicans Ignored Evidence Medicaid Expansion Would Strengthen The Economic Security And Health Of Countless New Hampshire Families.
·         Bragdon Admitted “he didn’t understand much about Medicaid.”  At a forum in Milford the Telegraph wrote, “[Bragdon] also admitted he didn’t understand much aboutMedicaid until this budget session. Medicaid expansion is considered the most contentious part of negotiations now underway over the proposed budget plan for Fiscal Years 2014 and ’15. [Nashua Telegraph, 6/4/2013]
·         Lewin Group: Moving forward with Medicaid Expansion would bring $2.5 billion into the economy, create 700 jobs, and save the state $92 million. [Lewin Group, Jan 2013]
·         Think Tank: Postponing Medicaid Expansion Even By One Year Would Cost An NH Irreplaceable $340 Billion. Economic and heath care policy experts at the NHFPI predict that "If New Hampshire delays, it would lose out for a year - maybe more - on the 100 percent federal match.  In detailed reports assessing the impact of theMedicaid expansion on New Hampshire, the Lewin Group estimated that a one-year delay would reduce the federal funds coming into New Hampshire by $340 million." [NHFPI, 5/28/2013]
·         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 A "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]
·         STUDY: Refusing to Expand Medicaid Will Be “More-Costly,” Require States Higher Spending on Uncompensated Care.  A non-partisan study revealed, “State policymakers should be aware that if they do not expand Medicaid, fewer people will have health insurance, and that will trigger higher state and local spending for uncompensated medical care,” Price said. “Choosing to not expand Medicaid may turn out to be the more-costly path for state and local governments.” [The Hill, 6/3/2013]
Conservative Republican Governors Support Medicaid Expansion to improve health and economic security.
·         Some of the most conservative Republican Governors in the country are accepting 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]
·         GOP Governor Christie: Expansion will save taxpayers money. In announcing plans to accept federal funding for expanded Medicaid Christie said, “accepting these federal resources will provide health insurance to tens of thousands of low-income New Jerseyans, help keep our hospitals financially healthy and actually save money for New Jersey taxpayers.” [Forbes, 2/26/2013]
·         GOP Governor Brewer is Vetoing Any Legislation That Reaches Her Desk Before Expansion. Republican Govnernor Jan Brewer is “so determined to put the Obamacare Medicaid expansion in place in her state that she’s vetoing any legislation that reaches her desk until the Republican Legislature caves.” [Politico, 6/5/2013]