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Republican Move Creates Confusion for Businesses, Higher Rates for Consumers

Concord — Senators David Pierce (D-Etna) and Andrew Hosmer (D-Laconia) fought hard in the Senate Commerce Committee today to convince their Republican colleagues to pass a bill that would have created guidelines for health insurance in New Hampshire, driven costs down, and allowed Granite Staters to retain control of healthcare policies. Despite their efforts, the committee’s three republicans voted 3-2 to kill the bill.

By voting this way, the Republican majority essentially moved to hand control over health insurance in New Hampshire to the Federal Government rather than protect state’s rights.  With its different set of rules, it is likely that Federal control over issues like geographic rating could result in higher costs for consumers in areas where access to health care is already challenging, that access to coverage for smokers will be harder, that we will have more confusing billing and new standards for small groups that will involve more of our businesses.

“The majority has been dangling this bill in front of the business community for months, creating uncertainty and confusion,” said Senator Pierce. “Now they’ve voted to put the federal government in charge, create even more confusion, and even raise costs for consumers. Just remember the Wal-Mart rule: you break it, you bought it.  By breaking our insurance market, the Republican majority has bought all that is coming when people begin to have problems.”

“As a small business person, I want to be able to understand the rules and plan to take care of my employees and keep costs down,” said Senator Hosmer. “This vote will make it much harder. I understand that they don’t like anything that is even remotely related to the Affordable Care Act, but this is going to hurt New Hampshire people and New Hampshire businesses, and all in order to play politics.  The people of New Hampshire shouldn’t have to suffer for the sake of political games.  Instead of political grandstanding, let’s do what’s right for our people and our businesses and make things work for them.”

In testimony before the committee, it was firmly established that this bill is not simply about the Affordable Care Act or health care exchanges — this bill would have established New Hampshire-controlled rules for all individual and small group policies.  It would have allowed the Insurance Department to regulate health insurance markets, enforce the rules, and interact with businesses as the regulator. Without it, we are literally handing over regulation of our health insurance markets to the federal government and its rules for the first time in our state’s history.

“There were no real substantive objections to this bill during the hearing,” added Senator Pierce. “The Republican move today is about one thing only:  politics.”

Celia Brown May 29, 2013 at 12:56 PM
So when your health care insurance rates are increasing (and for me they already have under this Obama administration), you have ONLY the Democratic party to thank 100% for. Again thank the Democrats, with even a few having to be publicly bribed, for bringing you something that no-one asked for but will double or triple your healthcare costs while limiting your coverage. Cornhusker Kickback Louisiana Purchase Intimidation in the shower need I say more........
Reality Geezer May 29, 2013 at 01:23 PM
Blame, label, criticize----need I say more???
Proud Conservative May 29, 2013 at 01:45 PM
@ Reality - Sure you can say more. For starters, you can tell us why we want to cheer about our health care rates going way up; you can tell us why we want to put on a happy face about limits and delays being put on our medical needs; you can tell us why we should be enthused about the tax on medical devices that we wind up paying; and you can tell us about the benefits of having the IRS watching over both our income and our medical needs.
steve forte June 27, 2013 at 04:24 PM
I never quite understood the medical devices tax. Or I should say why people thought it would help lower costs. Kinda like saying we are going to put a tax on wholesale food to bring the cost of a restaurant meal down.
Diane Caruso July 01, 2013 at 09:20 AM
When you see the byline is Senate Democrats, I have to take it with a grain of salt when it reads so one sided. To me, that negates the point they are trying to make. what happened to fairness? Once their point is stated, I then want to hear the Republican side to know why they voted the way they did. Don't just tell me "politics". There may be hidden issues that we are not aware of that can hugely impact the decision. I can only respect a report that shows me both sides. Sad for me.

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