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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

Concord

(The writer is executive director of New Futures.)

Linda, I can understand desiring to expand care for people with substance problems. That said, families with cancer patients want funds for their families, same for MS, spinal cord injuries, birth defects, other mental health problems and on and on. all meritorious requests. I would want the same for me/my family. Let's get real for minute - all of these truly worthy causes - cost money - big money. In an ideal world we would fund all but we do not live in an ideal world. Thus resources must be allocated. Where shall it come from? To whom should it go and in what percentages? . The money for this and similar programs must be taken out of the pocket of somebody who worked for it. who should let go of more of thier wages to pay? Quote, ". If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free!" -- P.J. O'Rourke

Why does every proponent of maintaining the status quo simply ignore the FACT that our private health care chaos (it hardly begins to merit "system") offers less good medical outcomes at dramatically higher cost than all the other advanced economies that provide universal health care with either government mandates (Germany) or government funding (France)? And as for Mr. O'Rourke, his whole writing career has demonstrated a preference for the cute bon mot over substance.

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