New Report Outlines What’s at Stake for New Hampshire Health Care as Presidential Primary Looms
Repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Championed by Every Republican Candidate, Would Devastate Health Care Gains in New Hampshire
Hundreds of Thousands of Granite Staters Would See Negative Impact
Washington, D.C.—Prospective primary voters in New Hampshire may be studying Republican presidential candidates to try to find differences, but a report released today instead reveals what the candidates have in common: They have all endorsed repealing the Affordable Care Act, and they all support drastic changes to Medicaid and Medicare.
If allowed to be implemented, these changes represent major reversals in national progress toward ensuring that all citizens in this nation have access to affordable health coverage. Their proposals would undo almost 50 years of progress in health coverage and would affect all Granite Staters—old, young, and working age—as health coverage protections are eliminated, and as prescription drugs, preventive care, and coverage itself become less affordable.
Granite Staters should be aware that repeal of the Affordable Care Act would mean:
- New Hampshire’s 221,200 Medicare beneficiaries would no longer be eligible for free preventive services, such as mammograms and colonoscopies. Well over two-thirds of beneficiaries (69.8 percent) took advantage of the benefit for at least one free preventive service between January and November 2011.
- Instead of diminishing through rebates and ultimately disappearing, the infamous Medicare Part D "doughnut hole"—the huge gap in prescription drug coverage—would grow. About 14,100 Granite Staters received a rebate check for prescription drugs in 2010thanks to the Affordable Care Act. In 2011, a similar number received even larger discounts—an average of $594 per person through just October—while in the doughnut hole.
- Insurance companies could again deny health coverage for children with pre-existing conditions, a practice that is now prohibited. More than 16,000 children in New Hampshire have been diagnosed with a pre-existing condition like asthma or diabetes that could have resulted in a denial of coverage in the individual market prior to reform.
- Insurance companies could continue to deny coverage in the individual market for people in New Hampshire between the ages of 18 and 64. Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act makes such denials illegal, a reform that will benefit more than a quarter of Granite States in that age group—about 217,900 people—who have been diagnosed with a pre-existing condition.
- Lower- and middle-income individuals and families would lose tax cuts to help pay for health care premiums. Under the health care law, 108,500 people in New Hampshire will be eligible for these premium tax cuts in 2014.
The list of bad outcomes from the repeal of health reform goes on: losing the opportunity to purchase coverage like Congress has, the re-establishment of lifetime and annual caps on benefits, the freedom of health insurers to spend premium dollars on almost anything besides health care, and the loss of a standardized right to appeal coverage decisions.
"Returning our health care system to a ‘Wild West’ market run by health insurers would take away important new rights and benefits gained by New Hampshire’s families under the Affordable Care Act," Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA, said today. "Making cuts to Medicaid and ending Medicare as we know it would makes things even worse for the people of New Hampshire, yanking coverage from New Hampshire families in economic distress and putting health coverage out of economic reach for many New Hampshire seniors.
"The Republican candidates never talk about real benefits to New Hampshire families under Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act, and they offer nothing positive in the way of replacing the benefits they would take away from hardworking families in New Hampshire," Pollack said.