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Entries in NH Democrats (932)

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%.
 

Wednesday
Apr092014

NHDP - GRAB YOUR POPCORN, This One’s a Doozy

Rachel Maddow Tells You Everything You Need to Know About Why Scott Brown is Wrong for New Hampshire
 
Here’s a NHDP Viewing Guide to Maddow’s Review of Scott Brown’s Greatest Gaffes.


2:10--Brown claims to have had "secret meetings" with Kings and Queens. He didn't. Ever.
2:40--Brown falls for Osama Bin Laden internet hoax. Believed that fake pictures were real and defended them on TV.
2:57--Rachel notes that Brown's fake embarrassing, made up, wrong stuff has been unforced.
4:00--Brown says Hillary Clinton calls him constantly asking for votes....later to be revealed as false...by his office.
4:50--Brown accuses Rachel Maddow of trying to run against him for MA Senate, which was "really weird."
5:30--Brown mocks Elizabeth Warren for being part Native American--"Scott Brown X-ray ethnic vision."
6:45--Scott Brown's phantom "Bqhatevwr" tweet from his pants.
6:55--Changes twitter handle, which had been @ScottBrownMA, to @SenScottBrown so it wouldn't be awkward when he ran for Senate in New Hampshire.
8:15--Scott Brown stumbles, can't remember what state he is in.



0:23--Scott Brown butchers his new state's motto: "Live Free AND Die"--maybe you, buddy. But not us.
1:20--Brown says "do I have the best credentials? Probably not. Cause, you know, whatever."
1:50--Can't even get his paperwork right. Brown forgets to check off what party he belongs to and is "a little bit of a mess."
3:05--McConnell calls Scott Brown "an old friend of ours."
4:05--Brown launches campaign based on the premise that Obamacare would be a failure...but millions of people now have access to health insurance.
5:00—“Scott Brown was a terribly embarrassing Senator....”
8:00--As the National GOP start to quietly admit that ACA is working, Scott Brown "Mr. I'm Against Obamacare... cannot answer even basic questions about what the state he is running in should do about Obamacare...because expanding health insurance in New Hampshire probably at some level makes sense for New Hampshire...but being against Obamacare is the one thing people are supposed to know about Scott Brown that does not make them laugh out loud."