Our Turn: Sununu should fight to preserve Medicaid expansion

Published: 8/28/2017 12:10:05 AM

New Hampshire’s bipartisan Medicaid expansion plan is boosting our economy and providing access to life-saving services, including substance use disorder treatment and recovery programs, to more than 50,000 Granite Staters.

That is why it is so troubling that Washington Republicans keep trying to sabotage it – if they can’t eliminate it altogether. Before Donald Trump took office, congressional Republicans tried to repeal Medicaid expansion more than 60 times from 2011 to 2016. In the Trump era, Washington Republicans tried to repeal Medicaid expansion in March, April, May, June and July.

The Trump administration takes every opportunity to sabotage Obamacare. Every month, the administration plays coy about whether it will make what’s known as cost-sharing reduction payments, creating uncertainty that is sending health insurance premiums skyrocketing. The administration has cut funding efforts that help people find out what insurance plan would be best for them. And the administration is even cutting the amount of time people will have to enroll in an insurance plan – while ending advertising campaigns to let people know when they can sign up for insurance.

Gov. Chris Sununu’s record on Medicaid expansion hasn’t always been much better. He opposed Medicaid expansion in 2013 and 2014, and he often trumpets the idea of “block granting” Medicaid, which would mean massive cuts to critical services for Granite Staters.

Now, we’re unfortunately gearing up for yet another challenge to Medicaid expansion as the Trump administration threatens to cut off funding for the program because of the unique way that New Hampshire’s program was designed by the Republican Legislature in Concord. This is no surprise, given President Trump’s desire at every turn to sabotage the Affordable Care Act.

This is a fight that we have already fought and won before under the leadership of then-Gov. Maggie Hassan. When federal officials previously raised concerns about the innovative way New Hampshire’s program was designed, Hassan did her job, fighting for the state and working to ensure that the Obama administration allowed the program to go forward.

The difference, of course, was that the Obama and Hassan administrations were committed to ensuring access to health care. We hope Gov. Sununu will fight just as hard to preserve our innovative Medicaid expansion program, ensuring the health and well-being of 50,000 of our friends and neighbors.

(Sen. Donna Soucy, a Manchester Democrat, represents Senate District 18. Rep. Cindy Rosenwald, a Democrat, represents Ward 3 in Nashua.)


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