NHDP - NHGOP Rep. Kurk “I do not know what the issues are” in Medicaid Expansion

Concord – At the Medicaid Expansion Study Commission this morning, Republican Representative Neal Kurk raised questions about why he had been appointed to serve on it after admitting, “speaking for myself I do not know what the issues are.”  Rep. Kurk was a Republican appointment to the bipartisan committee tasked with studying the impact expanded health insurance would have for the people of New Hampshire.  Video of Kurk’s admission is available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5ZdEkNDfgg&feature=youtu.be
“What is Representative Kurk doing on the Medicaid Expansion Committee if he doesn’t understand the issues involved?” asked New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director Harrell Kirstein.  “If Rep Kurk hasn't been paying attention to Medicaid Expansion and doesn’t understand the issues involved, he shouldn't be on the committee, he shouldn't have been appointed and he shouldn't have accepted. In other states across the country, Republicans from Chris Christie to Jan Brewer to John Kasich have taken the time to understand the issues and have recognized that Medicaid Expansion is good health policy and good fiscal that will expand access to critical health coverage for working families and help boost the economy.”  
The United States’ Medicaid program was created more than 35 years ago and has been a significant portion of the New Hampshire state budget every biennium since.  Expansion was included in the Affordable Care Act reform signed into law more than three years ago, and has been the topic of debate across the entire state of New Hampshire for months.
“Clearly New Hampshire Republicans are trying to derail expanded insurance coverage for thousands of New Hampshire residents, hoping for an electoral win if New Hampshire residents’ health takes a loss.  It is a shameful ploy and the kind of dishonest politics voters rejected last fall,” continued Kirstein.  “Why else would Republicans appoint to the committee individuals who have no interest in Medicaid Expansion, and don’t understand the improved health and economic security it would bring for thousands of working New Hampshire residents?”
Republicans Don’t Understand Clear Evidence Medicaid Expansion Would Strengthen The Economic Security And Health Of Countless New Hampshire Families
·         Rep. Kurk Admitted “I do not know what the issues are” in Medicaid Expansion.  At the Medicaid Expansion committee meeting on July 30, 2013 Kurk admitted, “This is a panel designed to study an issue, and speaking for myself I do not know what the issues are..." [Youtube, 7/30/2013]
·         Sen. 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 for Working Families
·         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 Christiesaid, “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]