EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


November 19, 2013

Letter: Expanded Medicaid helps those who help themselves

To the editor:

In 2010, I ran for New Hampshire Senate, seeking to represent Windham, Derry and Hampstead. In 2012, I ran for state representative.

During my campaigns I talked with people of all political philosophies. While some people wanted to see more programs to help those in need, there was a large contingent of people who felt that there are too many “government handouts.”

However, even those who felt that such “handouts” should be trimmed expressed a sentiment similar to that of a voter in Windham who said, “I hate to see my tax dollars going to waste. If I knew that my tax dollars were going to someone who was working hard, really trying to get by and provide for their family, I wouldn’t mind my taxes helping someone like that.”

I doubt that you could find harder workers than those who work one or more jobs, yet just get by due to low wages. These are exactly the people that expanded Medicaid eligibility would help.

Expanding Medicaid would allow individuals making around $15,000 or a family of four making around $31,000 per year to access affordable health insurance. These are working New Hampshire residents. This expansion will also mean an increase in the number of entry- and mid-level health care jobs — and more opportunity will decrease reliance on public assistance.

Of the two bills, I would recommend the House version as it does not rely on the marketplace until 2017, allowing time for more insurance providers to join. The Senate bill includes strict timelines for federal waivers and premature reliance on the marketplace for the continuation of coverage, which puts its success at risk.

In my campaign conversations, these are exactly the kind of fellow residents voters said they do support. Therefore, I would urge them to contact their legislators before Thursday to support expanded Medicaid eligibility.

Kristi St. Laurent


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