July 25, 2017

ICYMI: Sen. Maggie Hassan at Exeter Hospital: Republicans and Democrats Must Work Together to Improve ACA

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Senator Maggie Hassan joined medical professionals and patients at Exeter Hospital to highlight the need for Republicans and Democrats to work together to improve and build on the Affordable Care Act. Senator Hassan heard stories from attendees about how Senate Republican leadership’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act would raise costs and rip insurance away from Granite Staters.

See below for highlights of coverage:

Seacoast Online: Hassan: Dems need to be part of healthcare talks

By Hadley Barndollar

…. “The various versions (of Republican health bills) would lead to higher costs and worse coverage,” [Hassan] said. The Congressional Budget Office has also said the nation could see higher deductibles as a result.

“It would decimate the Medicaid program and our bipartisan Medicaid expansion,” Hassan said.

Hassan said between 22 million and 32 million Americans would lose coverage from the different Republican plans.

“So I think it’s time for a new approach,” she said. “Republicans and Democrats need to come together in order to build (on) and improve the ACA. The American people want Congress to come together. I’m ready to come to the table and work with any of my colleagues who are serious about that goal.”

Brendan Williams of the New Hampshire Healthcare Association said, “This has been a terrifying moment for those I represent.” The New Hampshire Healthcare Association represents 90 long-term care facilities around the state with 7,000 residents.

Williams said Medicaid serves nearly 63 percent of their residents in New Hampshire. “It’s absolutely unsustainable that we should bear such cuts,” he said. “This is immoral, it’s absolutely immoral to attack the residents that we care for and the caregivers that we employ, to devastate their dreams and hopes for dignity in their later years.”

MS Society Government Relations Committee member Dennis Murphy shared his story from a patient perspective, being diagnosed with the autoimmune disease in 1995. After 20-plus years on an injectable medication, he switched to a daily oral medication in 2016. That injectable medication, Murphy said, is now $91,600 for a year’s supply.

“This is an MS example, but this applies to all chronic illnesses,” he said. Murphy said sometimes patients are forced to make decisions, “To take the medication, eat or pay bills.”

Kevin Callahan, chief executive officer of Exeter Health Resources, thanked Hassan for speaking at the hospital and offered some insight from a lengthy career in healthcare.

“How did we get here?” Callahan said. “I was reflecting on the fact that when we are a compassionate society, we are our most powerful.”

In the past, Callahan said, the United States has not let vulnerable people “sink under the waves.”

… Hassan urged attendees to speak up about their healthcare situations to legislators and healthcare providers.

NHPR: Hassan Criticizes GOP Health Bill, and Trump Administration's 'Sabotage' of Obamacare

By Todd Bookman

Senator Maggie Hassan met with health care leaders in Exeter Monday to talk about the need for a bipartisan plan forward in Washington--and to criticize President Trump for his handling of the health care issue.

Standing in the glass atrium of Exeter Hospital, the first-term Democrat did not mince words about what she sees as the flaws in the Republican approach to health policy.

Hassan criticized the lack of public hearings on the GOP legislation, and argued that the proposed cuts to Medicaid would ultimately lead to higher costs and worse care for low-income residents.

“We know we have to lower health care costs for middle class Americans. We have to stabilize the insurance market, and protect the markets from the sabotage being attempted by the Trump Administration,” said Hassan, a Newfields resident whose family has used Exeter Hospital for both routine and emergency medicine.

… “This is a democracy. Our creed is that every single person counts. That means every single person has access to affordable care, when they need it,” she said.

Hassan was joined by Exeter Hospital CEO Kevin Callahan, who expressed concern about any dramatic upheaval in health policy.

“There is a panoply of issues with the Affordable Care Act, and they do require addressing,” he said. But with the policies of the ACA already deeply entrenched, he continued, “the complete repeal of that, let alone designing a replacement, which has yet to emerge that is sustainable, seems, I think, a fool’s errand.”