Shaheen, Hassan, warn on Obamacare repeal effort; Hassan calls for Price confirmation hearing delay
MANCHESTER – Sen. Jeanne Shaheen warns that the push by congressional Republicans and President-elect Donald Trump “to repeal the Affordable Care Act is on a very fast track.”
New Hampshire’s senior U.S. senator made her comment as she and the state’s new senator, fellow Democrat Maggie Hassan, teamed up at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock clinic in Manchester on Tuesday to hold a roundtable discussion with healthcare providers and leaders about the impact the repeal of the federal health care law, better known as Obamacare, would have on Granite Staters.
And answering a question from NH1 News, Hassan urged that the hearing for Congressman Tom Price of Georgia, who is President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Health and Human Services Secretary and who would steer Trump’s efforts to repeal the health care law, be delayed due to reports of a questionable stock purchase.
Shaheen told the roundtable panel that “we assume this on a very fast track for repeal.”
“So far we have no idea what the plan may look like. And despite President-elect Trump’s comments that were aired over the weekend talking about his health care plan, so far we haven’t seen what it is, and I’m concerned about what that might include,” she added. “About a 120,000 people have access to health care now who didn’t have it before the Affordable Care Act. About 600,000 people in this state have pre-existing conditions, we’re not sure what will happen to them.”
Shaheen also highlighted how repeal of the law could adversely impact the state’s fight against the drug epidemic.
“We have a lot of people in New Hampshire who have substance use disorders. We have a heroin and opioid epidemic here that’s been very challenging and one of the benefits of the expansion of Medicaid and of the Affordable Care Act is that it has meant that a number of people have been able to get treatment who otherwise could not have done that,” Shaheen said.
Those concerns were reinforced by Hassan, who said when Republicans “talk about repealing the Affordable Care Act, they’re talking about repealing our bipartisan Medicaid Expansion program, something we worked so hard on together, and that is providing health care now for over 50,000 Granite Staters.”
“When people talk about repealing it, they should understand that it will have an impact on our capacity on to treat people for substance use disorder,” she added.
Hassan also warned that repeal could lead to “the upheaval and instability in our insurance and health care markets and systems, the increased costs not only to families but businesses.”
Both senators urged Granite Staters to speak out.
“This discussion is really an effort for us to try and begin to encourage people throughout New Hampshire to ask questions, to make their views heard about what happens next,” Shaheen explained.
Hassan added that “it’s going to be critically important that people throughout New Hampshire and our country speak out and let their elected officials know what the impact of a flat out repeal of the Affordable Care Act would mean.
The event was the second time in eight days that New Hampshire’s two Democratic senators teamed up at events in the state to ring alarm bells over the impact repealing the law would have on the Granite State.
Hassan calls for delay in Price confirmation hearing
Following the roundtable, NH1 News asked Hassan about a CNN report from over the weekend that Price invested in a medical device manufacturer just days before introducing legislation that would have benefited the company.
“I certainly think those reports are very concerning and I think it’s really appropriate that a full investigation of whether Congressman Price violated the Stock Act in some way. That’s a provision that prevents members of Congress from taking actions that would be financially beneficial to themselves through legislation. And so I think there should be a full investigation and I don’t think his hearing should proceed until he’s been cleared by the ethics office,” Hassan said.
Hassan sits on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which is scheduled to hold a confirmation hearing on Price on Wednesday.