EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

January 16, 2014

Letter: Republicans should compromise on Medicaid expansion

To the editor:

In case anyone has forgotten, the question of whether or not Medicaid will be expanded in New Hampshire, with funding provided under the Affordable Care Act, is still alive and unsettled. The New Hampshire House, with a Democratic majority, has again voted yes to a plan to expand Medicaid. It is now up to the Republican-controlled Senate. This expansion is economically beneficial to the state, bringing roughly $2.4 billion in payments to health-care providers, but more importantly provides medical coverage to thousands of poor state residents.

This expansion was initially supported by the House and rejected by the Senate. With Gov. Maggie Hassan’s guidance, a bipartisan commission was appointed which approved an alternate plan. One of the members of the commission voting in favor of the plan was Republican Sen. Nancy Stiles.

Since then the Democratic-controlled House has continued to vote in favor of plans including a variety of compromises proposed by the Senate Republicans. But the Republicans keep moving the goal posts and insist on a completely unrealistic time frame for getting the federal government approval necessary for one of their proposals. Although not their preference, the Democrats have accepted the proposal but not the timetable, which would almost certainly guarantee that the people covered would get insurance for roughly one year, then lose it.

As she did on the commission, Sen. Stiles will have an opportunity to side with reason over party loyalty and support sensible compromise. I do not live in the senator’s district but I would urge those who do to contact her office and plead for her vote in favor of expanding Medicaid coverage.

Robert Wilkinson

Portsmouth

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