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No deal on Medicaid expansion

A special session of the Legislature closed yesterday with no deal for expanding Medicaid to an additional 50,000 low-income adults, despite leaders on both sides of the political aisle saying they remain willing and eager to reach a compromise.

The Republican-controlled Senate voted on three amendments to its original bill, ultimately approving one, 13-11 along party lines, before tabling the bill in the early afternoon.

“People of goodwill need to keep working together,” said Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley of Wolfeboro. “We’ve seen in the last week that instead of people being serious, it’s been politicized,” he said, pointing to rallies Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat who supports a different form of expansion, has held in the home districts of several senators.

In a statement released at the end of the day, however, Hassan indicated there was little good will left between the parties on the issue.

“We offered Senate Republican leadership nearly everything they asked for; all we wanted was a plan that would actually work from day one and for the long term. But Senate Republicans refused to budge, putting ideology first and the people of New Hampshire second,” she said.

“Our providers are ready for expanded health coverage, our businesses are ready, our people are ready, and I am ready. . . . I hope that at some point, a few Senate Republicans will set ideology aside and step forward to do what is right,” Hassan continued. “Until then, it is the people who are hurt, and it is the people whom senators must answer to.”

The proposal left on the Senate’s table at the end of the day would not give any of the newly eligible people access to the same coverage received by people already in the state’s Medicaid program. Instead, it would give them federal funds to purchase insurance on the federal insurance marketplace, but only once the federal government approves all necessary waivers.

Those waivers could take anywhere from one to two years to write, submit and be approved, and approval may hinge on whether multiple insurance companies offer plans on the marketplace for sale. Currently, only Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield offers plans for sale there.

“It may not be perfect. That doesn’t mean it won’t work,” said Sen. Bob Odell of Lempster, a Republican who had been targeted by Democrats as a potential swing vote.

Democrats sought a plan that would give people coverage through the state’s managed Medicaid program until the waivers are approved, then move them onto the marketplace with federal funds for buying plans.

Sen. Peggy Gilmour, a Democrat from Hollis, proposed an amendment with a two-year deadline to move people onto the marketplace, with automatic sunset provisions if several interim deadlines for writing and submitting the waiver applications weren’t met. It would have postponed the starting date until after the federal government approved the most widely supported provision – that eligible people with access to health care through their employer should be given federal dollars to help pay for the premium.

It also would have changed the membership of the commission that would have overseen the writing of the waiver applications, and it would have given the state Department of Health and Human Services oversight of the trust for federal funds for premium assistance.

That amendment was defeated, 13-11, along party lines.

In the House, Republicans lacked the votes to block the Democratic Medicaid expansion plan. But they deployed a variety of procedural maneuvers as delaying tactics during yesterday’s debate, and unsuccessfully offered five floor amendments to the bill itself.

“I suggest that we have the time, in the next session, to try to come to a reasonable compromise that does it right, both for the people who need the help and for the people who have to pay for it,” said Rep. Neal Kurk, a Weare Republican. “This bill doesn’t do it, but we can get it right.”

In all, the House took 21 preliminary votes over 4½ hours of debate before finally voting, 198-146, to pass its plan to expand Medicaid.

“The New Hampshire Access to Health Coverage program is the product of extensive study, thoughtful consideration, great innovations and significant compromise,” said Rep. Cindy Rosenwald, a Nashua Democrat.

“After four public hearings, the bipartisan recommendations of the Medicaid expansion commission and the testimony of experts throughout the process, it became clear that the people of New Hampshire need and want this opportunity for expanded access to health care, and that this plan is the best way for us to achieve that expanded access,” Rosenwald added.

That final vote fell largely along party lines: four Republicans joined 194 Democrats to support the bill, while one Democrat and 145 Republicans voted against it.

“For me, this is strictly a conscience vote. I just cannot bring myself to go back to my constituents who make $32,000 a year or less and say to them, ‘I’m sorry, but you’re not going to get insurance,’ ” said Rep. Bob Elliott of Salem, one of the four Republicans who voted for the bill. “I just can’t do that.”

The Senate quickly killed the House bill on a 13-11 party-line vote.

If the issue were to come up during the new session in January, any bills proposed would go before the public in committee hearings before votes by either chamber.

As the Senate voted to adjourn the special session, again on a party-line 13-11 vote, Senate President Chuck Morse said he expected to be considering the issue again.

“I agree there’s more to do, and I agree there’s a way to get there,” he said. “It’s not over.”

(Staff writer Ben Leubsdorf contributed to this report. Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322, spalermo@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

Related

How N.H. senators and Merrimack County representatives voted on Medicaid expansion

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Democratic-controlled House yesterday voted, 198-146, to pass a bill expanding New Hampshire’s Medicaid program. It was then killed by the Republican-controlled Senate, 13-11 along party lines. Here’s how Merrimack County’s state representatives voted on Special Session House Bill 1, listed alphabetically by last name: Yes ∎ Rep. Christy Bartlett, Concord Democrat ∎ Rep. Scott Burns, Franklin Democrat ∎ Rep. Lorrie Carey, Boscawen …

Legacy Comments11

Expansion of Medicaid through ObamaKare being under the control of a president that most Americans don't trust who has a habit of saying one thing and doing the opposite is just insane. It is so wise to delay everything to see how the expansion of Medicaid through ObamaKare rolls out elsewhere because so far it has been a huge train wreck something even the usual Obama sycophantic suspects here cannot deny.

DEATH Panels - They EXIST - Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) said on C-SPAN Wednesday morning that the Independent Payments Advisory Board (IPAB)--the so-called "death panel" of Obamacare, which will cut Medicare costs by restricting care--should be "revisited." - and liberals say that Obama said they didn't exist - how trusting the lemmings are.

In a post the other day you said health care is not a right PERIOD. Extrapolating that logic implies that those that can't afford it shouldn't expect it. Here you express outrage over make believe death panels? That is really rich, condemning the expectation of free heath care, then condemning the idea that some death dealer will make that decision. Well which way do you want it, you can't have it both ways. BTW, Romneycare in Mass seems to be doing fine, of course theyn didn't have a party trying to sabotage it at every turn.

No, health care is not a "right". Should the majority supply their own? Yes. Should we help those in need? Yes. Should everyone who has taken responsibility for their own insurance pay more and get less to supply insurance for 15% of the population? No. In fact, who in their right mind wants "government" controlling their health care, who gets what and who lives and dies.

I can't say I disagree with anything you said here. My comment was directed to an individual who repeatedly states if you aren't willing to work for it or can't afford it, why should it be supplied. That logic only could lead to a death panel. The point I think everyone is overlooking because of politics is a basic one. Regardless of the expansion of Medicare - when an uninsured person goes to the emergency room for treatment, WE pay for it with higher rates to cover the "free" care. Moving someone into medicare is really only a technicality. As for your comment on who in their right mind wants the government......... I will have to ask, who in their right mind wants things to continue as they are with private bureaucrats controlling their health care instead of public ones?

So just how is the IPAB in Obamacare any different than its predecessor at the for profit insurance company where that decision has been made up to now?

For a view of how badly the transfer of Medicaid responsibility to private (for-profit) companies has gone, check out the reactions (outside the GOP bubble) to the plan in Kansas.

Kansas is the home of Katherine Sibelius who has produced the NObamaKare DISASTER

CGI has produced the Obamacare web nightmare, The only direct blame is that the administration actually believed a private sector company when they said they could do the job. Blaming Kansas based on someone that lived there is the height of illogical thinking. For a reality check the top 3 states with a republican majority are Kansas, Montana and Alaska. Not exactly hotbeds of liberal activity by any known definition.

A new poll from Gallup reveals 56 percent now believe that it is not the government’s responsibility to ensure its citizens have health insurance...... Under Obama: Disability Trust Fund Runs Record 5 Straight Yrs of Deficits...... Economist: ‘After 2016, All You See Is Unending Red Ink’...... Americans’ Participation in Labor Force Hits 35-Year Low...... Hillary Clinton in 2007: ´If you have a plan you like, you keep it´ - DEMOCRATS are 100% the cause of the end of this Republic - this is now an all out WAR to Save America

Nice little collection of out of context snippets. At no time since 1929 had this country seen as devastating a depression and loss of jobs. So the Disability Trust Fund condition should be of no surprise. ------- American's participation in Labor Force Hits 35-Year Low. This is bothersome since both major stock exchanges have hit heights unseen before. Corporate American is having no problem making profits, so where are the jobs? Not in this country. As for the cause of the end of the republic, well, it takes a special person for that kind of response. We are all to blame, to think anything else is to not think.

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