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My Turn: Legislature applies Yankee frugality, but only sometimes

New Hampshire has a reputation for being stingy and, giving it a positive spin, we could salute our state’s frugality as a good Yankee value.

But let’s face it, New Hampshire frugality applies selectively. When lawmakers want to cut higher-education budgets and impose taxes on hospitals to jack up federal Medicaid reimbursements to enrich the state’s coffers, they are “frugal,” but not when it comes to taking advantage of a federal health care benefit for the poor.

Case in point: One part of the Affordable Care Act asks states to expand Medicaid coverage to additional numbers of the uninsured. In New Hampshire, such an expansion will cover about 50,000 presently uninsured low-income people, and the federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of this coverage for three years, then 90 percent in succeeding years. This is a win-win for the state and for the uninsured poor. But the Republican-controlled state Senate voted no, raising such questions as whether it could trust the government to honor the plan.

These senators trust the federal government to continue to fund New Hampshire’s Medi-scam, which the state has operated for years – exacting a phony tax from hospitals to increase federal reimbursements and then splitting the extra take with hospitals. (Now they no longer split the “take” with hospitals.)

The last legislative session closed without approving the federally funded Medicaid expansion and established a study commission to consider the plan and other options such as the state funding its own expansion. Huh? The stingy state wants to pay for Medicaid expansion instead of letting the feds pay?

As reported in the Monitor, a consultant to the study commission has calculated the cost and coverage for a state-funded expansion independent of the feds. It will cost the state about $50 million the first year and cover just 20 percent of those who would be covered under the federal government plan. Not only that, but there will be a $5,900 annual deductible for each, in addition to a $100 monthly premium. Thus, there’s no coverage until after one spends nearly $6,000, in essence no coverage for poor people who are hardly in a position to spend half or more of their income on health care.

Where is the need to discuss this further?

As Adam Schiff used to say on Law and Order, “Take the deal.”

And step on it!

(Cate McMahon lives in Wolfeboro.)

Legacy Comments10

I sat through part of the debate yesterday by the Medicaid Expansion Commission. The Republicans on the committee were acting as if they were unaware of the basic fact that people with low incomes don't have much money.

Yep.... we keep the rich rich with our tax structure... great work folks...

Wrong again Sail. The Decocratic controlled Congress passed a budget on March 23, 2013. It failed in the Republican House. You need to keep up with current events.

100% INCORRECT - the Responsible Republican Controlled House has passed a budget every year and passed it to the Senate - They would not be fighting over a continuing resolution today if the democrat controlled senate ever did their job - THOSE are FACTS you can take to the bank

ROFL "Responsible Republican Controlled House" What a joke. They are the most irresponsible House ever to have been elected. They have blocked all legislation that they could not pass without the need for Democratic support. I would not call a house that refuses to include the other side responsible. I would call that house uncompromisingly irresposible not responsible. Why else would they attempt to hold the country hostage to get what they want. If they had worked with Democrats they maybe could have fixed the issues they have with the ACA. instead they just told lies about how bad it was and proposed nothing to make it better.

that post is simply more revisionist history from Liberals - FACT- ObamKare was forced down Americas throat without a single Republican vote and against the will of the majority of Americans. It is a tragedy that the democrats controlling DC cant forge a legislative coalition to even PASS A BUDGET .They cant even pass a bill without a filibuster proof majority and using legislative tricks - When America needed a leader to pull us out of the economic downturn you and your ilk elected politicians NOT Leaders

One has to wonder if democrats know where the Obama monopoly money "FEDERAL DOLLARS" come from? Obama & the democrats have ... not.... Not.... NOT even passed a budget in 5 years but they have increased the debt from 10 trillion to over $$$$$ 17 TRILLION DOLLARS. The USA cannot exist if the low information democrat voter continues to vote for themselves largess from the treasury

Nice Geezer rant Sail! You should add: "and all you kids get off my lawn!"

and all kids of liberals GET OFF MY LAWN

Thanks sail for my morning laugh!

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