NHDP - Rep. Kurk Exposes GOP Double Standard: Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Not “Humane”

Concord – At a Medicaid Expansion Committee meeting today, State Representative Neal Kurk strongly voiced his opposition to New Hampshire opting out of Medicaid Expansion after, expanding insurance coverage to thousands of New Hampshire workers.  Kurk said that opting out of Medicaid Expansion and forcing thousands of working New Hampshire families off insurance was “not a humane” option.  But New Hampshire Republicans have been blocking that very same insurance coverage provided by Medicaid Expansion for months. 
“If repealing insurance coverage from thousands of New Hampshire families is not humane, what do Republicans consider blocking that insurance coverage from ever expanding in the first place?” asked New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director Harrell Kirstein.  “New Hampshire Republicans have been standing in the way of health insurance for thousands of hard working Granite Staters for too long.  Today, the hypocrisy of their ideological opposition and the phony double standard it is based on was exposed.”
When again offered the possibility of opting out of Medicaid Expansion, Representative Kurk responded, “With all due respect, [opting out of Medicaid Expansion] just is not a humane or viable option.” [YouTube, 7/23/2013]  New Hampshire Republicans blocked Medicaid Expansion earlier this year, ignoring clear evidence it would strengthen the economic and health security of thousands of working families.
“Voters deserve an answer from Senate President Bragdon, Majority Leader Bradley and the other Republicans who blocked expansion – why are you opposed to expanding insurance coverage to thousands of working families when according to Republicans taking that same insurance coverage away from those same individuals would be ‘inhuman,’” continued Kirstein.  “Expansion is good health policy, good fiscal policy and good economic policy, and study after study bears that out.”  
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]