Letter: N.H. needs the help
There are plenty of good reasons for the state Senate to support Medicaid expansion through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Here’s a really important one: Medicaid expansion would provide coverage for almost 8,000 residents who have substance use disorders like alcoholism and drug addiction.
New Hampshire has an epidemic drug and alcohol problem. The state is No. 1 in the country for underage alcohol use and No. 3 in the country for underage marijuana use. Excessive alcohol consumption costs the state over $1.15 billion in lost worker productivity, health care, criminal justice and public safety.
Compounding the problem is the fact that the state is No. 49 in the country when it comes to access to services.
If the Senate continues to block Medicaid expansion for New Hampshire, our state will lose out on $2.5 billion in federal dollars over the next seven years. Hard-working families need the help. Families and individuals struggling with the impact of substance use disorders need the help. The Senate should stop playing politics with our tax dollars and make sure New Hampshire taxpayers, including those in need of alcohol and other drug treatment, get their fair share.
LINDA SAUNDERS PAQUETTE
(The writer is executive director of New Futures.)