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Monday
Apr142014

NHDP - NEW VIDEO: Web Video Lays Out Major Issues Surrounding Walt Havenstein

Maryland Multimillionaire Either is Ineligible to Run or Committed Tax Fraud

 

Concord, NH-- Walt Havenstein, Washington Republicans' hand-picked candidate for Governor, plans to formally announce his candidacy this week, without having addressed the residency and tax issues surrounding the Maryland multimillionaire. The NHDP's new web video lays out for New Hampshire voters the fundamental problems with Havenstein's candidacy.

"Granite Staters don’t know much about Walt Havenstein or what he stands for, but this web video highlights what we do know: either he is ineligible to run for Governor in New Hampshire or committed tax fraud in Maryland," said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley. "Havenstein's campaign hasn't even left the gate, yet the hand-picked candidate of Washington Republicans has already shown that he is willing to break the rules to be elected Governor.

"Granite Staters trust and support Governor Hassan because she is a strong, bipartisan leader who is focused on solving problems in order to strengthen our middle class and move our economy forward," continued Buckley. "Walt Havenstein, on the other hand, has only been able to demonstrate that he believes the rules don't apply to him, and the people of New Hampshire can't trust him to stand up for our priorities," concluded Buckley.

Click here to watch the new web video and see below for the transcript.
 
 
Transcript:
 
News clip
 
Maryland multimillionaire Walt Havenstein wants to be Governor of New Hampshire…
 
But why New Hampshire?
 
News clip
 
Havenstein’s primary residence was in Maryland as recently as 2012…
 
And even though he says he "can't recall" signing the application, he took a tax break worth thousands of dollars that is only available to Maryland residents…
 
He really likes Maryland small businesses
 
Speech clip
 
And the state of Maryland in general
 
Interview clip
 
He may not even be eligible to be governor here, New Hampshire requires Governors to be residents for 7 years
 
Now he wants us to think he's been a New Hampshire resident the whole time…
 
But if he lived in New Hampshire, he misled Maryland on taxes…
 
So which is it – Ineligible to run or tax fraud?
 
Havenstein can't have it both ways.

 
Background:

Nashua Telegraph expose outlined how Walt Havenstein took Maryland property tax breaks that required his principal residence to be in that state, raising a host of questions and placing his candidacy in doubt.

The Telegraph uncovered that Havenstein “saved $5,354 from 2008-11 by getting a homestead exemption from local property taxes in Bethesda, Md. He also paid a lower state property transfer tax while buying the property in that state. To get both, Havenstein had to acknowledge that his $1 million condominium was his ‘principal residence' where he was living at least seven months of the year." [Nashua Telegraph3/23/14]
 
Under Maryland law, ”Principal residence” has been defined to mean the “one dwelling where the homeowner regularly resides and is the location designated by the owner for the legal purposes of voting, obtaining a driver’s license, and filing income tax returns.” [MAPM, accessed 4/2/14]
 
Maryland law was enacted in 2007 that requires all homeowners to submit an application stating that they meet the principal residence requirements, under penalty of perjury. According to the Telegraph, “Havenstein said he didn’t recall signing that form.” [State of Maryland, accessed 4/2/2014Nashua Telegraph3/23/14]
 
A few weekends ago, a Nashua Telegraph report emphasized Havenstein's problems stating that he was either "ineligible to run for the office or committed tax fraud in Maryland." [Nashua Telegraph3/31/14]

That same report found that in addition to registering a car in Maryland, Havenstein briefly held a driver’s license in that state. New Hampshire doesn’t allow someone to hold a valid driver’s license in this state while having an active license in another state. [Nashua Telegraph3/31/14, State of New Hampshire, accessed 4/2/14]
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.

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.

Wednesday
Apr092014

NH GOP - WITH RE-ELECTION PROSPECTS FLAGGING, A TRIO OF OUTSIDE GROUPS RUSH TO SHAHEEN'S SIDE 

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Concord - As a slew of out-of-state liberal special interests rush to embattled Senator Jeanne Shaheen's side, noticeably absent on her list of supporters is one important group: grassroots New Hampshire voters. In the last two days alone, a trio of outside groups have bolstered Shaheen's suddenly uncertain re-election prospects:

  • Liberal party leaders in Washington. In what Politico described yesterday as a "a vulnerable-incumbent protection program," Majority Leader Harry Reid is giving "floor time to vulnerable Dems," using official Senate time to boost the flagging campaigns of his incumbents. Included on that list was Shaheen, as DC Democrats hope a "triumph on energy efficiency" to give her a talking point for the fall.
  • "Nervous" Massachusetts Democrats. The Boston Herald described the nervous hand-wringing of Dems in the Bay State and how they are "scrambling to bolster U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's struggling re-election campaign in New Hampshire." "'It's all hands on board," said one top Massachusetts Democrat," and "Everybody feels that Jeanne Shaheen is vulnerable,' said the Dem, who noted that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Gov. Deval Patrick have offered help."
  • "Outside money": In a blistering editorial this morning, the Union Leader eviscerates Shaheen's hypocrisy on the outside money she rails against, noting that "75 percent of her 2014 campaign cash is from out of state," including from family members of left-wing billionaire George Soros. 

"It's not surprising that Jeanne Shaheen's most vocal and fervent supporters are in Washington and California given that she lost touch with New Hampshire values a long time ago," said NHGOP Chairman Jennifer Horn. "This is what happens when you vote 99 percent of the time with President Obama and cast the deciding vote for Obamacare. Jeanne Shaheen puts the interest of a national party agenda first and foremost, and her liberal party leaders are going to do everything they can to send her back to Washington."

 

Shaheen's frenzied backing from outside interests comes as a new survey of brokers reveals that health insurance premiums in New Hampshire have risen 90 percent in the wake of ObamaCare.