Forum Held to Discuss Ways to Fend Off Obamacare
Panel discussion focused on ways to block health care mandates.
The decision in June by the Supreme Court to uphold President Obama's Affordable Care Act left many people, from coast-to-coast, stunned. But it didn't take long for states and conservative groups to start planning ways to repeal that decision or fight its implementation.
On Thursday evening, about 60 audience members packed the Humanities Room of the Library at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts for an “Obamacare Resistance Panel,” sponsored by the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire and co-sponsored with Cornerstone Policy Research, First Principles, and FRCAction.
Each panelist – William O'Brien, the House Speaker; Andrew Manuse, a state rep. from Derry; and Connie Mackey, president of FRCAction PAC – was given several minutes to present their position on the ruling and discuss how the state or, for that matter, the country, can continue to fight the health care program ruling.
Following the panel, the audience was invited to ask the panelists questions.
O'Brien focused his remarks on how the passage of Obamacare will affect the New Hampshire Medicaid system, forcing a massive increase in money the state will have to pay into the system, he said.
Currently, of the residents in the state eligible for Medicaid, about 60 percent participate. Of the 50 percent who don't, O'Brien said 98 percent have their own insurance and only 2 percent of those eligible for Medicaid aren't ensured.
Under Obamacare, O'Brien said, the end-result is going to be a $1.875 billion increase over the next few years. O'Brien said, at that rate, if New Hampshire kept spending the way it is now, the Obamacare Medicaid mandate would make up approximately 90-95 percent of the state's budget.
“As a state official you have to say we're going to do whatever we can to prevent that from happening,” O'Brien said.
He said New Hampshire has taken steps over the last legislative session, which Manuse went into more detail about, to protect itself from Obamacare.
He said the state passed a bill (HB 1297) that prohibits the state of New Hampshire from participating in a state health care exchange.
“We also passed several statutes that require legislative approval ... before Health and Human Services can change any policy, any standard, any regulation,” O'Brien said.
Manuse, who is also the executive secretary to the Republican Liberty Caucus, focused his remarks on the measures the New Hampshire Legislature took this year to try and prevent itself from feeling the full effects of the health care law if it came to pass.
He said he was shocked to hear the decision that the Supreme Court had upheld the law.
Manuse said HB 1297 came as a result of an insurance official that informed him the state needed to set up an insurance exchange in order for Obamacare to work, and that set Manuse into action in drafting a bill that would prohibit the state from taking such action.
“It will be incumbent on the next legislature to use the teeth that we gave them and really stop Obamacare from being implemented.”
Manuse said the federal government is going to look for every loophole they can to get around HB 1297.
“I'm praying to God, the right place to do it I think, that we do have Republicans elected to both Congress and to the state Legislature so that we can appeal or amend Obamacare,” Manuse said.
Manuse also spoke to the importance of a free market healthcare system. None of it will change overnight, he said, it took 100 years to get here and it's going to take 50 to 100 to get back, but the state and federal government have got to start now, he said.