House Republican Leader Comments on House Democrats’ Surprise Medicaid Expansion Amendment

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Gene Chandler offered the following statement in reaction to the op-ed by House Speaker Terie Norelli (D-Portsmouth) published over the weekend. In the op-ed the Speaker indicated that House Democrats would offer an amendment to a retained 2013 bill that would include Medicaid Expansion legislation. Language of the amendment has not been released.

House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett)

“House Democrats have again chosen to ram this significant policy change through with little or no debate. This is one of, if not the largest expansion of a government entitlement program the New Hampshire legislature has ever faced. Attaching such an expansive piece of legislation to an unrelated bill is not the right way to approach any issue, much less something of this scale. On Wednesday, the House will be asked to vote on an amendment we haven’t even seen or been able to review. There will be no public hearing or opportunity for public input. It’s unfair to our Representatives and to our constituents. This is not how we should do things in New Hampshire.”

“Why this surprise amendment is even necessary is beyond me. Democrats will have a bill in the 2014 session that will address the same issue, and we will have an opportunity to thoroughly debate the merits of the policy. We see enough of this type of politics from Washington and we don’t need it here in New Hampshire. New Hampshire citizens deserve better.”

“There are many issues and questions still unanswered regarding Medicaid expansion. One recent study showed that in Oregon emergency room use by those covered under expanded Medicaid increased by 40%; exactly the opposite of what we have been told would be a reduction in these types of uses. This is just one example of why New Hampshire should take the time to have a thorough debate on this evolving issue so we can come up with the right answer for New Hampshire.”