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Saturday
Apr122014

NH GOP - ICYMI: Live Free or Obamacare 

In New Hampshire, Jeanne Shaheen scrambles to fix her law.

 

April 10, 2014 6:25 p.m. ET

 

The political left favors "single payer" health care, but that concept has new meaning in New Hampshire this year as just one insurer was willing to participate in ObamaCare. Thus the spectacle of Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen beseeching the feds to save her re-election from her own law.

 

The Granite State Senator rode the 2008 Obama wave to become the deciding 60th vote for the law's passage, but now Ms. Shaheen must defend the mess it has made of her state's insurance markets. She's cashing in all her government chits amid a statewide uproar as patient access to hospitals and other providers has declined.

 

The only exchange option afforded to consumers comes from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, a unit of WellPoint. The insurer built a narrow network that lowered premiums by 25% or 30% while still complying with ObamaCare's other mandates. Limiting choice can generate volume discounts on rates and sometimes better medical performance.

 

But Anthem's network rollback also illustrates the downsides, all the more so because ObamaCare imposed an artificial monopoly on what had been a functional individual market. Of the 26 in-state acute care hospitals, 10 were booted from Anthem's network (not counting emergency services). Even the state capital of Concord was shut out, and the coverage gaps are wider because so many primary care and specialist practices are now owned by health systems.

 

The Granite State didn't lack for insurers before. Anthem dominated with 40.7% of all private policies, but strong rivals included Harvard Pilgrim (20.4%), Cigna CI -3.05%(18.7%) and Aetna AET -2.88% (7.8%). Anthem did have a 76% share of the individual market, but aren't the exchanges supposed to increase competition?

 

Nor is Anthem filling some urgent health-care need. According to a 2013 University of Massachusetts Medical School analysis, 19 of 20 individuals who paid with their own dollars chose preferred provider organization (PPO) plans that cost more than restrictive HMOs but connect patients to a larger variety of doctors and hospitals.

 

In a January letter to the Health and Human Services Department, Ms. Shaheen let it be known that "I have heard from consumers who have been left without access to the provider with whom they had built a long-standing relationship," and demanded that HHS do something. The feds are obliging and promise a rule by year's end that could outlaw or undermine narrow networks.

 

The problem is that HHS already polices the "network adequacy" of ObamaCare to supposedly ensure provider diversity and prevent treatment delays. HHS signed off on the Anthem plan, as did state regulators.

 

Cracking down would limit innovation and abuse discretion-private business would be forced into contacts with other businesses. The far easier and better solution would be to permit many configurations of benefits, networks and price points, so consumers could balance cost versus access.

 

But for HHS, Occam's razor is only good for suicide. Rather than deregulate, HHS has bribed another insurer to enter the Granite State in 2015. Late last year after intense lobbying by the Democratic New Hampshire delegation, the Massachusetts-based nonprofit co-op Minuteman Health was awarded $66,944,915 contingent on expanding up north. Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter did the honors of publicly announcing the no- to low-interest loan, not HHS.

 

Minuteman belongs to a troubled ObamaCare insurance start-up program, which was marked for death in the recent fiscal cliff negotiations. HHS slipped the money through the door one last time before Congress took the lending facility away.

 

In a February interview with WKXL radio, Ms. Shaheen denied responsibility for the New Hampshire turmoil: "I would have designed it differently had I been designing it. I wasn't the person who was writing the law. Hindsight is 20/20." The truth is that critics predicted exactly what has happened, and she was the one writing the law because without her vote it wouldn't have passed.

 

Real contrition wouldn't involve clutching the HHS apron strings for special rescue. If Ms. Shaheen means it, she and the 11 other 60th-vote Senate Democrats facing a voter reckoning this fall would join with Republicans to compel the White House to accept major ObamaCare changes.

 

Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown formally declared his campaign to unseat Ms. Shaheen on Thursday, and health care is once again emerging as one of his defining themes. New Hampshire's eccentric politics have trended Democratic. But the state retains antitax and libertarian sympathies, and Mr. Brown has defied political expectations before.

 

If Democrats had heeded the voters the first time Mr. Brown won in 2010, and slowed down their rush to passage and written a better bill, Ms. Shaheen wouldn't now be having to deceive voters about her decisive role in creating the debacle she now disavows.

 

This article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

Saturday
Apr122014

Citizens Report: Your Weekly E-Newsletter 

Fighting against a hike in New Hampshire's Gas Tax

Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire testified before the New Hampshire House's joint Public Works and Transportation's public hearing earlier this week in opposition to Senate Bill 367, a proposal to increase the Gas Tax by 23% to 22 cents per gallon.

 

You can click HERE to watch video of Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire's Executive Director Matthew Murphy's testimony on Tuesday.

 

You can also read about our efforts to stop the Gas Tax in the Associated Press, the Union Leader, and the Nashua Telegraph.

If you are a frequent reader of our e-newsletter, you know we have been working to defeat this proposal for months.  We recognize the negative impact it will have on Granite State families and small businesses. It has not been easy considering a majority of liberals like Governor Maggie Hassan and many in the New Hampshire Senate and House are strong supporters of a hike in the Gas Tax. However, we will not give up. 

 
 
New Radio Ad: "Shaheen Said..."

As reported by WMUR, our organization went up on the air on Tuesday with a radio advertisement focusing on Senator Jeanne Shaheen. The ad uses audio from a recent Senator Shaheen tele-town hall. In that conference call, she continued her support for the new law and said that "we are beginning to see some positive results" from it.

 

Considering she cast the deciding vote for Obamacare and votes with the President 99% of the time, we aren't too surprised Senator Jeanne Shaheen still stands by the law even as it crumbles. However, her misguided and delusional belief that Granite Staters are seeing 'positive results' from a failing Obamacare would be laughable if it didn't have such serious consequences. 

 

Click HERE to listen to our new radio advertisement.

 

From 22,000 Granite Staters being kicked-off their original healthcare plans to countless more who are facing a lack of hospital access, New Hampshire is hurting because of Senator Shaheen's vote for Obamacare. Our state's senior senator would do herself well to have an honest conversation with her constituents about how badly the failing law is hurting them and their families. Our advertisement continues to pressure Senator Shaheen to finally have that dialogue.

 
 

Sen. Rand Paul to join Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire for a fundraiser in Manchester
As reported by WMUR Political Scoop's James Pindell, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul will join Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire for an intimate, private fundraiser with key activists involved with our organization on Saturday in Manchester, NH. 

In addition, CNN reported a couple of weeks ago that Texas Senator Ted Cruz will also join Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire on April 27th for a sold-out fundraiser in Rye, NH.

Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire is honored to have Senator Rand Paul and Senator Ted Cruz join us for two important events where we can discuss each of their efforts to advocate for limited government, lower taxes, and less spending on Capitol Hill. 

For over a year, our organization has been fighting Obamacare and advocating for fiscally conservative policies that limit government, lower spending, and cut taxes to grow our economy. We look forward to hearing how Senator Paul's and Senator Cruz's fight for liberty has impacted those of us in the Granite State and what we can do to replicate those efforts in Concord and in Washington, D.C.
 
 
The Sen. Shaheen of 2008 vs. the Sen. Shaheen of 2014

This week, Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire released a web video focusing on then Senator-elect Jeanne Shaheen's comments in November of 2008 where she said that Granite Staters want a U.S. Senator who will be a "strongindependent voice." She went on to say, "I am going to be that senator" and continued by promising that she would "never hesitate to disagree with... the president to do what's right for New Hampshire."
 
The web video explains how Senator Shaheen has voted 99% of the time with President Barack Obama on issues ranging from the failed stimulus to Obamacare. It also encourages Granite Staters to contact our state's senior senator and ask her to stand with New Hampshire on the issues that matter, not President Obama.
 
 
Almost six years ago, Senator Jeanne Shaheen promised New Hampshire she would be a 'strong independent voice.' Ironically though, whether it was on Obamacare, a failed stimulus, higher taxes, or more spending, Senator Jeanne Shaheen sided with President Obama and leadership in Washington instead of her constituents.

Senator Shaheen was right. Granite Staters do want a U.S. Senator who promises to reflect their voice. Sadly though, when she went to Washington, she replaced that pledge to New Hampshire with one to President Obama. We encourage Granite Staters to call Senator Jeanne Shaheen and remind her that she is supposed to represent their family's values, not those of the residents at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The release of our web video was covered by GraniteGrok.com and NHJournal.com
 
 
 
Your contributions keep us going!
It's because of the support we get from Granite Staters like you that we are able to focus on the issues you care about every day. With your contributions, we are able to work hard at holding our elected officials accountable.  However, without your donations, we wouldn't be able to keep our office staffed, our web videos produced, or radio and TV commercials on the air.
 
Whether it is $25, $50, $100, $500 or more, if you are able to contribute financialy to our efforts, we would greatly appreciate it.

 
 
Laugh of the week    
 
Some humor for your Friday. Have a great weekend, Granite Staters!  
 
Friday
Apr112014

AFP - Watch our NH Freedom Summit live online! 

If you can't make it to Manchester this weekend to hear our amazing speaker line-up at our first ever, sold out New Hampshire Freedom Summit, don't worry -- we've got you covered!

We'll be live-streaming the event online here, starting Saturday morning at 9am EST.

Here are some of the folks you'll be hearing from at the Freedom Summit:

speakers-all-jpeg

Along with: Senator Mike Lee, Governor Mike Huckabee, Radio Talk Show Host Laura Ingraham, Former Speaker Newt Gingrich, Representative Steve King, Mr. Donald Trump, and AEI President Arthur Brooks.

All of these folks are actively working to return America to the ideals of hope, growth, and opportunity that have made our country a beacon of freedom -- you'll definitely want to hear what they have to say!

Here's where you can watch the live-stream of the Freedom Summit, starting at 9am EST Saturday morning:

http://americansforprosperityfoundation.org/freedomsummit2014


Thank you for your commitment to keeping our country great,

Tim Phillips sig

Tim Phillips
Americans for Prosperity Foundation President

Thursday
Apr102014

Franklin Center - Citizen journalism shines during Sunshine Week 

Citizen journalism shines during Sunshine Week

The Franklin Center’s citizen watchdog initiative, Watchdog Wire, recently observed Sunshine Week, a nationwide event all about two of the most important building blocks of good government: transparency and accountability.

“Sunshine Week is important because it raises awareness of our increasingly opaque government, and also shows citizens ways that they can help fight to maintain an open, accountable political system on all levels of government,” says Rachel Swaffer, Outreach Associate for Citizen Watchdog.

See what our citizen watchdogs accomplished during Sunshine Week

Watchdog.org Takes Home Six Awards at the Virginia Press Association’s Annual Conference

Alexandria, Va.– Two reporters from Watchdog.org’s Virginia Bureau won six awards–including two for first place–in the 2013 News/Editorial and Advertising Contest for the Virginia Press Association (VPA) on Saturday.

Read more here

A Note From Our President

Dear Reader,

While most offices were observing March Madness, our team of journalists observed Sunshine Week, a nationwide celebration of government transparency and accountability. On the ground across the country, Watchdog Wire's citizen journalists used open records laws, archives, and state and local government websites to cast light on the dark corners of government. We're committed to helping make citizens more aware of the tools they have in front of them to hold government accountable - because tyranny has no greater enemy than an informed and engaged citizenry.

Best regards,

Jason Stverak
President
Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity


P.S. If you would like to help us keep up the fight for a free press, you can donate here!

In The News

Obamacare's restaurant calorie label mandate is a complete mess

Government do-gooding is turning into a nightmare for small businesses

Read more

WatchdogWire

More crash, more cash at red-light camera intersections

Camera issues more tickets than town's total population!

Click here to see how much money it brought in!

Proponents and opponents target open-carry in Texas

Senate committee looks to remove barriers to Second Amendment rights

Watch the video here!

Stay Connected


Thursday
Apr102014

NH Council of Churches - Repeal the Death Penalty--Prayer Vigil 

E-lert
New Hampshire Council of Churches E-News
April 10, 2014  


Death Penalty Repeal Prayer Vigil
Join Our Mailing List

Dear New Hampshire Council of Churches Community,

 

This message is to inform you of additional information on progress towards repeal of the death penalty in New Hampshire.  We have received word that the Senate will take up this issue of concern on Thursday, April 17th
at 9:00 am
.  A prayer vigil is being organized for that time at the State House with hopes to have a strong showing as people of faith and be in prayer as it is discussed and voted upon.  If you and others you know can be there it will be an important visible statement.

 

The vote coming, as it is now anticipated, during this most holy of weeks in the Christian calendar, gives profound meaning to the prayer vigil and inspiration to those of us who will be present and to those not able to be present but who will be  in prayerful support of repeal that day.

 

Please share this information widely.

 

Faithfully,

 

Clare.

 

Clare J. Chapman

Executive Director

New Hampshire Council of Churches

 




New Hampshire Council of Churches 
 
125 Airport Road                                 PO Box 1087 
Concord, NH  03301                Concord NH  03302
603-224-1352