Quantcast

Hassan on health care coverage in New Hampshire - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Hassan on health care coverage in New Hampshire

Posted: Updated:
LEBANON, N.H. -

New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan worked the lunch crowd with the Greater Lebanon Chamber of Commerce Tuesday. On the menu-- her desire to expand Medicaid coverage to about 49,000 low-income Granite Staters.

"What Medicaid expansion would allow us to do is to get people who otherwise won't be able to afford the exchange health care coverage right away," said Hassan, D-New Hampshire.

The Democrat says that while both sides have made compromises, there is still no agreement in Concord and the clock is ticking.

"For every day we delay past January first on Medicaid expansion, the state of New Hampshire loses at least a half a million dollars a day," Hassan said.

And that's just the beginning. According to a study commission by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Medicaid expansion would pump an estimated $2.5 billion federal dollars into New Hampshire's economy over the first seven years.

There are two key sticking points. Republicans want a private option on the table and a clear timetable for implementing it. But lawmakers say both plans have the same goal-- to reduce skyrocketing health care costs that are quickly becoming unsustainable.

"Make sure there are more people in the pool, that people are insured, that hospitals are getting paid for the services that they are providing and that there is downward pressure on our premiums," said Sen. David Pierce, D-Etna.

Higher premiums are plaguing towns right across the river in Vermont.

"Unsustainable, unimaginable," said Ken Parker, a selectman in Hartford.

In nearby Hartford, municipal employees are looking at a possible 50 percent increase in premiums. About 65 town employees would be affected.

Parker is a selectman and a certified insurance broker.

Reporter Adam Sullivan: How do you fix the problem?

Ken Parker: You know, that is a good question. If we could answer the question of how we fix it, we would save ourselves a lot of money and a lot of aggravation.

One option would be to drop coverage all together and let employees get their own insurance on Vermont Health Connect. But its rollout-- like the national exchange-- is also a source of frustration. However, Parker, who calls the current situation a crisis, says progress is being made. And the result-- at least for his business-- is lower prices.

"My own agency here, a single employee last year was somewhere in the vicinity of $825, and this year, comparable coverage is about $490," Parker said.

Ultimately no matter where you live, it comes down to affordability and getting workers without coverage covered.

"They are our retail clerks, our teaching assistants in our schools, our construction and restaurant workers," Hassan said.

A special session has been planned for Thursday in Concord for lawmakers in New Hampshire to vote on Medicaid expansion. Hassan says that while she's optimistic a deal can be reached, she won't sign a bad deal.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • N.H. man killed in Lunenburg crash

    N.H. man killed in Lunenburg crash

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:33 PM EDT2014-09-02 03:33:55 GMT
    One man is dead following a tractor trailer rollover in Lunenburg.
    One man is dead following a tractor trailer rollover in Lunenburg.
  • 2 charged with skid-steer joyride on I-89

    2 charged with skid-steer joyride on I-89

    Monday, September 1 2014 10:15 PM EDT2014-09-02 02:15:25 GMT
    The theft of some construction vehicles caused chaos on the Interstate this weekend.
    The theft of some construction vehicles caused chaos on the Interstate this weekend.
  • Bike racers wrap up weekend events

    Bike racers wrap up weekend events

    Monday, September 1 2014 9:59 PM EDT2014-09-02 01:59:03 GMT
    The Green Mountain Stage Race took to the streets of Burlington Monday.
    The Green Mountain Stage Race took to the streets of Burlington Monday.
  • Allergy sufferers brave ragweed season

    Allergy sufferers brave ragweed season

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:08:26 GMT
    If you're sneezing, your nose is running and you're eyes are itchy once again this year -- you're not alone. Fall pollen counts are peaking in our region and proving tough for allergy sufferers looking to enjoy the outdoors.Despite a spate of heat and humidity, the signs of fall are undeniable. Cooler temperatures and color are on the way. And even though many think of spring as "allergy season" due to tree pollens, this time of year can be particularly tough for allergy sufferers, too -- bec...
    If you're sneezing, your nose is running and you're eyes are itchy once again this year -- you're not alone. Fall pollen counts are peaking in our region and proving tough for allergy sufferers looking to enjoy the outdoors.Despite a spate of heat and humidity, the signs of fall are undeniable. Cooler temperatures and color are on the way. And even though many think of spring as "allergy season" due to tree pollens, this time of year can be particularly tough for allergy sufferers, too -- bec...
  • Holiday drivers find lower prices at the pump

    Holiday drivers find lower prices at the pump

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:59 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:59:21 GMT
    Drivers this holiday weekend found lower gas prices at the pump.
    Drivers this holiday weekend found lower gas prices at the pump.
  • Sanders addresses Labor Day rally

    Sanders addresses Labor Day rally

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:51 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:51:52 GMT
    Community members gathered in Burlington's Battery Park Monday to celebrate Labor Day -- and hear from Senator Bernie Sanders.Union leaders addressed the importance of employees supporting one another. They also thanked the community for supporting Vermont's unions. Senator Sanders says the holiday is for working people to not only celebrate their gains, but to also address issues facing the working class."There's a lot of work in front of us if we're going to make sure that our kids and our ...
    Community members gathered in Burlington's Battery Park Monday to celebrate Labor Day -- and hear from Senator Bernie Sanders.Union leaders addressed the importance of employees supporting one another. They also thanked the community for supporting Vermont's unions. Senator Sanders says the holiday is for working people to not only celebrate their gains, but to also address issues facing the working class."There's a lot of work in front of us if we're going to make sure that our kids and our ...
  • Authorities seize animals from Santa's Land

    Authorities seize animals from Santa's Land

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:32 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:32:03 GMT
    The Windham County Sheriffs Department says it seized multiple animals from the theme park this weekend.
    The Windham County Sheriffs Department says it seized multiple animals from the theme park this weekend.
  • Body discovered in Massena

    Body discovered in Massena

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:02 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:02:43 GMT
    New York State Police are investigating an unidentified body found in Massena.
    New York State Police are investigating an unidentified body found in Massena.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.