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Entries in NH Democrats (933)

Tuesday
Apr152014

NHDP - Portsmouth Herald: Brown-bagging it on Granite State campaign trail

Key Points: “Granted, Brown's decision to tweak the state motto once more at his official announcement on Thursday was not a gaffe, but it did feel like the work of an intellectual lightweight in search of a sound bite… Really, Scott Brown? It's your big day. You're officially announcing your candidacy for the United States Senate. And this is your money line?”

“When Shaheen challenged him take the same pledge in 2014 — stop the presses — he declined. In the old days that was called flip-flopping. As in, he was for limiting the influence of deep-pocketed special interests launching attack ads before he was against it.”

“But I definitely don't want a senator who, when asked by The Associated Press whether his Bay State baggage might be a problem for Granite State voters, responded, ‘Do I have the best credentials? Probably not. Cause, you know, whatever.’"
 
 
Portsmouth Herald: Brown-bagging it on Granite State campaign trail

http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20140413-OPINION-404130321
By John Breneman
April 13, 2014
PORTSMOUTH — Some say Scott Brown's bid to weasel his way back into the Senate by moving north from Massachusetts is doomed because Granite State voters will see him as a "carpetbagger."
 
But others feel New Hampshire may jump at the chance to elect a handsome pickup truck-driving senator who as a young man posed nude in Cosmopolitan and who even inspired a "Saturday Night Live" skit about how sexy he is (with "Mad Man" stud Jon Hamm playing Sen. Brown).
 
This means Jeanne Shaheen, whose deep Granite State political roots include three terms as governor prior to her 2008 election to the Senate, is not dealing with just any carpetbagger.
 
To paraphrase the esteemed political pundit Austin Powers: "He's a shagadelic carpetbagger, baby!"
 
Unfortunately for Brown — a one-time Republican rising star who famously won "Ted Kennedy's seat" in a 2010 special election before losing his job to Elizabeth Warren — his much-anticipated announcement Thursday night at the Sheraton in Portsmouth was preceded by several vintage gaffes.
 
"Live Free AND Die," Brown says in one video clip, butchering his new home state's signature motto, "Live Free or Die" — words that underscore New Hampshire's reputation for having a skeptical, independent-minded, politically savvy electorate.
 
Perhaps he was tired from his whirlwind move from Wrentham to Rye, but he's also on video telling a reporter he believes Granite State Republicans are thankful for his efforts to "raise awareness as to the issues that are affecting people not only here in Massachusetts, uh, in New Hampshire ...;"
 
Granted, Brown's decision to tweak the state motto once more at his official announcement on Thursday was not a gaffe, but it did feel like the work of an intellectual lightweight in search of a sound bite.
 
Playing off his top talking point — brain-dead blather about how Jeanne Shaheen and Barack Obama are destroying America and stealing our freedom by helping millions of people obtain health coverage — he dropped this zinger.
 
"It forces us to make a choice: Live free or log on."
 
"Guess what? In New Hampshire, we choose freedom."
 
Really, Scott Brown? It's your big day. You're officially announcing your candidacy for the United States Senate. And this is your money line?
 
I'm sure that will resonate with the tea-flavored Kool-Aid crowd, but I doubt most intelligent New Hampshire voters, whatever their political leanings, spend much time complaining about how Jeanne Shaheen is taking away their freedom.
 
According to a newspaper up in Coos County, Brown was visiting the home of GOP state Rep. Herb Richardson, railing about Obamacare being a horrific "monstrosity," when Richardson — a Republican, mind you — responded that the controversial law had been a "financial lifesaver" for him and his wife.
 
Now candidate Brown must be scrambling to figure out his position on New Hampshire's likely move to use governmental action to expand health coverage for lower-income residents. That's a big no-no for the folks most likely to pour millions into his campaign war chest, and for those looking to fund anti-Shaheen attack ads as Republicans try to reclaim a majority in the Senate.
 
But you can't fault Mr. Brown for putting most of his eggs in the "Obamacare is evil" basket.
 
After all, Obamacare has the word "Obama" in it. And in our current sickly dysfunctional political climate, all Republicans must vigorously oppose all things connected to Obama as anti-American, or risk being "primaried" by more conservative opponents.
 
At least that scheme tops the one he used the last time he tried to beat a woman for a Senate seat. Running in 2012 against Warren — a brilliant and passionate fighter for regular Americans in a system now rigged to benefit only the rich — his main strategy was to mock her for claiming she was part Native American. (Retroactive spoiler alert: She scalped him.)
 
In that race, Brown challenged Warren, and she agreed, to take a "People's Pledge" promising to limit the outsized, some say insidious, influence of corporate cash that has transformed modern-day politics.
 
When Shaheen challenged him take the same pledge in 2014 — stop the presses — he declined. In the old days that was called flip-flopping. As in, he was for limiting the influence of deep-pocketed special interests launching attack ads before he was against it.
 
Perhaps Scott Brown will pick up his game. He's trying to score a few Brownie points — reminding local folk that he was born at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Given his propensity for gaffes, I half expect him to share a heart-warming anecdote about going with his grandfather to open his first savings account at Strawberry Bank.
 
However, he still has a track record of odd statements that raise doubts about his honesty and intelligence, such as boasting that his experience in the Senate included "secret meetings" with "kings and queens."
 
Now, I don't want to be accused of stereotyping people who've posed for sexy pictures in national magazines. And perhaps it is not my place to suggest that in Mr. Brown's case, the emperor — I mean, former Massachusetts senator — has no clothes.
 
But I definitely don't want a senator who, when asked by The Associated Press whether his Bay State baggage might be a problem for Granite State voters, responded, "Do I have the best credentials? Probably not. Cause, you know, whatever."
 
My senator doesn't have to be an Einstein, but I do want representation in Washington from someone I believe is both smart and sincere.
 
Scott Brown seems like a very nice man with a very nice family. Nice pickup truck. Nice barn jacket. Nice smile. Nice carpet bag stuffed with tattered talking points and odd remnants.
 
But for me, perhaps the biggest question about Scott Brown — that rare politician to successfully transition from stripping for Cosmo to posing for Politico — is this.
 
How did he get those chiseled, super PAC abs?
 
Herald columnist and copy editor John Breneman can be reached at jbreneman@seacoastonline.com(Twitter: @MrBreneman).

 

Saturday
Apr122014

NHDP - ICMYI: AFP Running Misleading Attacks Deemed FALSE

With the Americans for Prosperity Freedom Summit rolling into town this weekend, it’s important to remember that AFP has a history of using Koch Brothers Big Oil money to run misleading, and often false, negative and nasty attack ads.

 

Politifact: Americans for Prosperity claims people are getting less at a higher cost under Obamacare
 
Americans for Prosperity has been active on the airwaves already this election cycle. The group, which opposes Obamacare, has run a handful of ads featuring people telling health care "horror stories" meant to tug on the heartstrings. We’ve looked at a couple andexplained how they can be misleading.  

But a pair of new ads take an entirely different tack to undercut support from Democratic Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Udall of Colorado. (It has also run against Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.)

In these ads, a woman on screen trashes political ads in her 30-second personal pitch.

"People don’t like political ads. I don’t like them either. But health care isn’t about politics," she says. "It’s about people. And millions of people have lost their health insurance, millions of people can’t see their own doctors, and millions are paying more and getting less."

We’ve tackled claims about lost insuranceand access to personal doctors before. But we haven’t heard someone say that the health care law is causing people to pay more for less, so we decided to check it out.

Paying more

There are a lot of factors in the health care law — and health insurance in general — that make it difficult to pin down whether people are paying more or less for coverage.

In general, insurance premiums were increasing every year well before Obamacare became law. In fact, rates have increased consistently during the last 15 years. But there are signs that the rate of the increase has declined since the law was passed.

Kaiser Family Foundation, for example, surveyed people who purchase insurance through their employer. Here are the average annual cost of premiums:

Year Single % increase Family % increase
1999 $2,196   $5,791  
2000 $2,471 12.52% $6,438 11.17%
2001 $2,689 8.82% $7,061 9.68%
2002 $3,083 14.65% $8,003 13.34%
2003 $3,383 9.73% $9,068 13.31%
2004 $3,695 9.22% $9,950 9.73%
2005 $4,024 8.90% $10,880 9.35%
2006 $4,242 5.42% $11,480 5.51%
2007 $4,479 5.59% $12,106 5.45%
2008 $4,704 5.02% $12,680 4.74%
2009 $4,824 2.55% $13,375 5.48%
2010 $5,049 4.66% $13,770 2.95%
2011 $5,429 7.53% $15,073 9.46%
2012 $5,615 3.43% $15,745 4.46%
2013 $5,884 4.79% $16,351 3.85%

 
Other than a sharp increase between 2010 to 2011, the Obama years have experienced the smallest rate increases of the last 14 years. Throughout much of the early 2000s, premium increases of 9 percent or more were the norm.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid also found a slowdown in the increase in health costs during the last four years, including a modest 4 percent increase from 2011 to 2012.

The government attributed the decrease in health costs to the economic downturn. Kaiser, too, said the recession accounted for much of the decline, though they said the health care law may have played a role, too.

Because of the law, people making up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level are now eligible for subsidies to buy insurance, and for many of them, costs are going down. Those costs are capped at a percent of their income.

But some people may see rate increases on existing policies or as they transition to new plans.

Insurers can no longer deny individuals with pre-existing conditions, and there is now a much larger pool of people looking to purchase coverage. For younger, healthier people, this means they are now taking on some of the financial burden so older or sick people can buy insurance at a reasonable price. (This is especially true for young males, since young women were often charged more, and even more so if they don’t qualify for premium subsidies.)

There were also people who previously purchased very cheap plans. But those policies provided very little coverage or capped their benefits at low levels, which the new health care law bars. So they’re getting more coverage, albeit at a greater cost.

Getting less?

Which gets us to our next point.

We found it strange that the ad claimed that people are getting less under the Affordable Care Act. In fact, we’ve usually heard the opposite from critics of the law that people are now paying for types of coverage they don’t need.

The favorite example is single men who now will now have maternity coverage if they buy a plan on the individual market. In October 2013, Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., grilled Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius on this very point.

"An insurance policy has a series of benefits whether you use them or not," Sebelius said during her testimony on the Hill.

"And that is why the health care premiums are increasing this high," Ellmers said. "We’re forcing them to buy things that they will never need."

"Individual policies cover families. Men often do need maternity coverage for their spouses and for their families," Sebelius responded.

"To the best of your knowledge, has a man ever delivered a baby?" Elmers asked. The discussion ended there.

So are you getting less coverage, or getting more than you need? We asked Americans for Prosperity to clarify their position.

"Getting less speaks to a multitude of data points that has been America's Obamacare experience so far: botched website, shrinking provider networks, a string of broken promises, missed deadlines, and unilateral rule changes that have kept the entire country in limbo ever since this debacle rolled out," said spokesman Levi Russell.

That’s a pretty ambiguous definition of "less." We think most people would assume "less" is referring to the amount of coverage or benefits under the law.

Americans are getting more benefits under the law in a number of ways -- including, in some cases, being able to buy affordable insurance for the first time.

In addition, insurance purchased in the individual and small group marketplace must meet 10 essential health benefits. This includes coverage for emergency services and hospitalization, prescription drugs, free preventative coverage for things ranging from basic immunizations to HIV screening, and maternity care.

The law also caps out-of-pocket costs, providing greater protection from exorbitant hospital bills. The most a person could pay for health care in a year is $6,300; the most a family can pay is $12,600.

Before the law passed, some insurers capped annual or lifetime benefits, forcing people who thought they were covered to pay large hospital bills once they passed the threshold.

People with pre-existing conditions are also seeing a lot more benefits, since they previously couldn’t buy a policy at all.

So it’s a tough sell to say millions are getting less. And for many, they aren’t paying more, either.

Our ruling

Americans for Prosperity said "millions are paying more and getting less" under Obamacare. We found their explanation of "less" rather dubious. Most people on the individual market are getting more benefits under the law. At worst, they’re paying more to get more, though in many cases they’re actually paying less.

We rate this claim False.

Saturday
Apr122014

NHDP - Granite State Democrats Launch Statewide Grassroots Push By Holding Series of County Summits

Concord, NH-- The New Hampshire Democratic Party is announcing the launch of its statewide grassroots training program to unite volunteers, activists, and community members dedicated to electing strong, Democratic leaders across the state. Over the next month and a half, Democrats from across the state will meet to partake in training sessions ranging from persuasive neighbor-to-neighbor communication strategies, tactics to maximize a social media presence, and effective fundraising methods. The series kicked off last Sunday with an extremely enthusiastic and successful summit in Concord.

"There are less than seven months until Election Day, and New Hampshire Democrats are excited. They don't want to let a single day go to waste," said State Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. "At the first summit this past weekend, Democrats from the Concord area proved their dedication and enthusiasm by devoting their time and energy to making sure we have the best possible team to spread our message across the state."


At each summit, the trainings, discussions, and presentations are led by staff representatives from the State Party's communications, political, and finance offices. Attendees of the summits are provided with materials and contact information to ensure all local grassroots organizations have access to resources they need to build and develop winning campaigns.

"The high level of excitement and engagement my staff and I saw at this weekend's summit is very encouraging. Democrats across the state understand the importance of this year's election and are committed to working tirelessly over the next 200 days to make sure that all the progress our state and country has made isn't reversed by Republicans," Buckley concluded.


Upcoming Grassroot Summits:

Rockingham County Summit

April 26th
 
Sullivan County Summit 
April 26th
 
Coos County Summit
May 1st
 
Strafford County Summit
May 3rd
 
Carroll County Summit
May 8th
 
Manchester Summit
May 10th
 
Cheshire County Summit
May 10th
 
Nashua Summit
May 12th
 

Grafton County Summit

May 17th 


Additional Upcoming Democratic Grassroots Activites:
  • 6 platform hearings scheduled this spring across the state
  • The "Young Democrats State Summit"


Concord area democrats at last weekend's Grassroot's Summit.

Friday
Apr112014

NHDP - Passage Of Koch Budget In House Raises Questions About NH Republican Candidates

Koch Budget Would Place Granite State Families, Women, Seniors, And Students At Risk
 

Concord, N.H.-- Here in New Hampshire, Granite Staters have already begun to see the influence of the Koch brothers self-serving agenda. To date, the Koch brothers have poured over a million dollars into the state to elect representatives who will pass legislation that benefits their bottom line, but leaves the middle class to pay the price. Now, Republicans in Congress are pushing their new budget that is bought and paid for by their billionaire backers. This reckless and irresponsible budget benefits billionaire oil barons and Wall Street banks, while making devastating cuts to programs that affect seniors, women, and students. 

 

"The Koch brothers are propping up Republican candidates here in New Hampshire who will be trustworthy rubber stamps for their agenda, including protecting their tax breaks, weakening consumer protections, cutting women's health services, and turning Medicare into a voucher program," said New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director Julie McClain. "The Koch agenda will not help New Hampshire families get ahead, which calls into question whether the Republican candidates that the Kochs are trying to elect through negative advertising will blindly back the Koch budget that current House Republicans just passed with broad support."

 
When Frank Guinta was in Congress, he helped write an early version of the Koch budget and even delivered a speech on the floor of the House calling on Congress to pass it. Guinta's primary opponent Dan Innis also supported this budget calling it, "the right policy." While a state senator, Gary Lambert supported a state budget that cut countless vital New Hampshire programs, much like the Koch budget would. Marilinda Garcia is the Koch brother's shady campaign organization, Americans for Prosperity, hand-picked candidate. 
 

"Republican support for the Koch budget is a clear demonstration that they want to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest rather than create opportunities for middle class New Hampshire families," concluded McClain

 

FACTS: HOW THE KOCH BUDGET HURTS N.H. FAMILIES

 

 

Medicare Part D donut hole

15,535 Granite State seniors that have benefited from the closure of the Medicare Part D prescription drug donut hole would be affected.

Pell Grants

New Hampshire students will receive $8,700,000 less funding in Pell Grants.
1,560 fewer New Hampshire students will receive Pell Grants.

 

Medicaid

1,877,000,000 in Federal Medicaid funding for the state would be cut over the next decade due to the proposal to block grant Medicaid. In addition, $792 billion more would be cut from Medicaid nationwide due to repeal of the ACA Medicaid expansion.

Title 1

Title I would be unable to support the equivalent of roughly 20 schools and 2,140 disadvantaged students, potentially resulting in 50 fewer teachers and aides with jobs.

IDEA

80 fewer special education teachers, aides and other staff would be supported with federal funding.

Head Start

340 fewer Granite State children would receive Head Start services.

Social Services Block Grant

$7,150,000 less funding would be provided for the Social Services Block Grant.

Child Care Block Grant

140 New Hampshire children could lose access to child care, which is also essential for working parents to hold down a job.

Job Training Grants (WIA/ES)

2,900 fewer Granite Staters would receive Training and Employment Services.
10,400 fewer Granite Staters would receive Job Search Assistance.

Housing Choice Vouchers

1,536 fewer low-income families would receive Housing Choice Vouchers.

STOP Violence Against Women
164 fewer victims of domestic violence would be served through the STOP Violence Against Women Program.

Thursday
Apr102014

NHDP - ICYMI: Survey Citing 90% Insurance Rate Increase Completely Debunked 

NH Rates “All Based on One Anonymous Person's Opinion”

"Average Individual Rate Did Not Go Up By 90%"

New Hampshire Insurance Department Disputing Morgan Stanley's Claim
 

WMUR: Hear the one about NH health insurance rates going up 90 percent?

“You see, Morgan Stanley conducted a survey of insurance agents in 34 different states. On page six of their report it details how many people they talked to in each state. In New Hampshire, they said they talked to one person, who they don't name. Interestingly they also only got one response in nine other states. They got the most responses (31) from Idaho. For those keeping track, 21 percent of all survey respondents were from Idaho.”
 
NHPR: Report Citing 90% Rate Increase Under ACA Called Into Question
 
“But only one of the 148 insurance brokers anonymously surveyed by Morgan Stanley works in New Hampshire. Delaware, which the report says is seeing a 100% increase under the law, also only had a single respondent.
In a statement, the New Hampshire Insurance Department says while individual prices can vary significantly, the average individual rate did not go up by 90%.”
 
 
Read the full articles here:

Hear the one about NH health insurance rates going up 90 percent?

UPDATED 9:06 PM EDT Apr 09, 2014

By James Pindel


CONCORD, N.H. —Here is a funny story about some funny stories you may have read this week. Maybe this will provide some insight on how the Republican Party message machine works. Of course, Democrats attempt to do the same thing. You, a casual follower of politics, may not know any better.

It starts with a national report from Morgan Stanley on expected health insurance rates changes in different states next year. What it said about New Hampshire was rather alarming: Rates for health insurance on individuals went up 90 percent.

A blogger for Forbes.com wrote up the report. On Monday, seeing an opportunity, the New Hampshire Republican Party sent out a press release blaming Democratic politicians and the Affordable Care Act for the huge rate increase.

Then a local Republican blogger followed the press release by tweeting a link to the Forbes story. Within minutes, the state Republican Party then retweets the blogger. The story is then gaining interest to other media outlets. The next day, The Union Leader made it a front page story with the headline "Survey: NH health premiums up 90%."
WMUR-TV did not air a story about it.

Here's why: it's all based on one anonymous person's opinion.

You see, Morgan Stanley conducted a survey of insurance agents in 34 different states. On page six of their report it details how many people they talked to in each state. In New Hampshire, they said they talked to one person, who they don't name. Interestingly they also only got one response in nine other states. They got the most responses (31) from Idaho. For those keeping track, 21 percent of all survey respondents were from Idaho.

Morgan Stanley never promised that this survey was based on actual insurance rate data in each state. But if you are interested in that the state Department of Health and Human Services hired an outside firm to that analysis. They found that, after you factor in subsidies in the new health care law, the average premium would actually decrease eight percent this year.
 
Report Citing 90% Rate Increase Under ACA Called Into Question
By TODD BOOKMAN

The New Hampshire Insurance Department is disputing a report that claims a 90% spike in individual premiums under the Affordable Care Act. The report from Morgan Stanley, which has become the latest flashpoint in the political battle over Obamacare, was based on a national survey of insurance brokers.

It provided perfect fodder for opponents of the health law. New Hampshire GOP Chair Jennifer Horn said it confirmed ObamaCare as a "disaster." Republican Scott Brown, eyeing a New Hampshire Senate seat, also used the 90% figure in criticizing the law.



But only one of the 148 insurance brokers anonymously surveyed by Morgan Stanley works in New Hampshire. Delaware, which the report says is seeing a 100% increase under the law, also only had a single respondent.

In a statement, the New Hampshire Insurance Department says while individual prices can vary significantly, the average individual rate did not go up by 90%.