Source: NH1 News
Shaheen and Hassan Warn of 'Consequences' if Obamacare Repealed, Planned Parenthood Defunded
EXETER – Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan Monday vowed to fight a new attempt by congressional Republicans to federally defund Planned Parenthood.
And at a visit to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Exeter and in an interview joint interview with NH1 News, New Hampshire’s two Democratic senators urged supporters to speak out and “stand up.”
Shaheen and Hassan also argued against the GOP push to repeal the Affordable Care Act, highlighting how it would negatively impact the Granite State’s efforts to battle the heroin and opioid epidemic.
The visit by the two senators comes just days after U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that part of the upcoming legislation to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law would include cutting off federal taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood, which is the nation’s largest provider of reproductive health services, including abortion.
Shaheen and Hassan met with staff, volunteers, and former patients at the clinic, who highlighted the wide range of services that were provided to them, including steering them towards mental health and substance misuse resources.
Shaheen warned that if federal funding is cut off, “our health care system is not able to absorb all of the people who it would need to if Planned Parenthood clinics are closed across the country.”
“We’re going to throw a lot of people their healthcare in a way that’s going to have very dramatic consequences,” New Hampshire’s senior senator added.
In their first joint interview in New Hampshire since Hassan was sworn into the Senate, the former governor told NH1 News “what we’re focused on today is really stopping the defunding from happening.”
“What we heard from former patients here today was how critical Planned Parenthood had been for them for basic healthcare treatment at a time for instance when they didn’t have insurance or suddenly lost their insurance, and had a women’s health emergency,” she added. “It’s really critical that we stay focused on the fact that women are equal citizens of the United States. We need equal access to health care. It shouldn’t be more expensive for us than it is for men and that we all know that it’s healthier for women and families to make sure that they have access to healthcare and that it benefits them financially too,” said Hassan, who during her two terms as governor fought for state funding for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.
Shaheen told NH1 News “we’re here to say that Republican leadership in the House should not defund Planned Parenthood. It would have a very negative impact on so many women in New Hampshire and across this country, both from the health prospective and economically, so it’s great for both of us to be here to carry that message and to make sure that we have those votes in Washington to do that.
And Shaheen urged that “this is something that people need to express their point of view about to their delegation, to the leadership here in New Hampshire, to the governor (Republican Chris Sununu) who has had a mixed record on this, to the legislature here, and to the White House because President-elect Trump has not taken a position that I’m aware on this and so people need to let him know that this is not something they support.”
Hassan added that “there’s been bipartisan support for Planned Parenthood for decades now and it’s really important that people speak up and let Gov. Sununu, President-elect Trump, and all of their elected leaders understand where they are on this issue.”
The two senators also kept up their efforts to prevent the repeal of the federal health care law, better known as Obamacare.
Hassan argued that “the Republicans are planning to repeal the Affordable Care Act without telling us what they’re going to replace it with. And in the meantime what we know is that when we talk to Granite Staters, they don’t think that people with pre-existing conditions for instance should be denied health care coverage, but that’s what repealing the Affordable Care Act would do. They think women should have access to health care and that Planned Parenthood should be funded. That’s been a bipartisan issue in New Hampshire and around the country. This is really being driven by the extreme right in the Congress.”
Shaheen pointed out that “one of the things that people haven’t paid attention to is the fine print in the budget resolution that would repeal the Affordable Care Act. There’s a $2 trillion cost to that. That’s trillion with a T. So I also think people would be very concerned about that if they knew it.”
After visiting the Planned Parenthood clinic, Hassan headed to Manchester to visit the Farnum Center, an alcohol and drug treatment facility, to highlight the impact the repeal of Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act would have on Granite State efforts to combat the drug epidemic.
But before she departed Exeter, Hassan told NH1 News that people need to understand that New Hampshire’s Medicaid expansion program “is almost entirely funded by federal Medicaid expansion dollars that are part of the Affordable Care Act and thousands and thousands of Granite Staters are getting treatment for opioid addiction because of that Medicaid expansion. So when we talk about the possibility of repealing the Affordable Care Act, they’re talking about repealing Medicaid Expansion and doing away with that care. And that’s something that none of us should stand for.”
Shaheen added that “I visited Hope on Haven Hill in Rochester on Friday, where they’re trying to help pregnant women or women who’ve just delivered. And all of the women who were there said they were getting, said they were able to be there because of the Medicaid Expansion that the governor spearheaded. And this would have huge consequences for people who are getting treatment for their substance misuse issues because the Affordable Care Act and because the expansion of Medicaid in New Hampshire.”