Concord - In case you missed it last night, Republican Senate President Pete Bragdon admitted that he “didn’t understand much about Medicaid until this budget session.” Bragdon added that voters were “’asking me as a volunteer’ to make a decision about $350 million a year,” speaking of New Hampshire’s decision to expand Medicaid. [Nashua Telegraph, 6/4/2013]
“It is inexcusable for the President of the New Hampshire State Senate not to ‘understand much about’ about a program that the state has spent hundreds of millions of dollars a year on for decades. Every single member of New Hampshire’s 424 person state legislature is a volunteer,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director Harrell Kirstein. "If Senator Bragdon hasn’t done his homework and isn’t up to the task of making big decisions about Medicaid expansion maybe he should step aside and find a new hobby to occupy his time, preferably one that doesn’t put the economic security of New Hampshire families at risk.”
Senate Republicans are costing New Hampshire workers new jobs, refusing to expand health care coverage, and jeopardizing countless families’ economic security. Now the Republican leader in the senate is admitting that it is happening because he didn’t understand much about Medicaid.
Two weeks ago, Senate Republicans announced that their budget would spend $200,000 to “study” Medicaid expansion for another year, even though the Supreme Court decision allowing states to opt out of expanded Medicaid was delivered over a year ago. Senate Republicans would be forfeiting nearly $350 million dollars in improved health care coverage and economic security for New Hampshire families. [New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute, 5/28/2013]
"After twiddling their thumbs for the past year and steadfastly refusing to accept clear evidence of the potential for improved health care and economic security for New Hampshire families, now they want to spend $200,000 of New Hampshire taxpayer’s hard earned dollars to study the issue. What exactly have Bragdon, and Republicans in the senate been doing for the past twelve months?" asked Kirstein. “Were Majority Leader Jeb Bradley and the rest of the Republican Senate caucus aware that Bragdon ‘didn’t know much’ about Medicaid when Republicans announced they didn’t want to opt into the expansion?”
Across the country some of the most conservative Republican Governors have announced plans 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 are out to prove that they are out of touch not just with the voters of New Hampshire, but even with national members of their own party. They continue to be face and voice of the irresponsible Tea Party and radical conservatives."