Saturday, August 16, 2014

Beginning of New Hampshire Health Protection Program

Governor Hassan’s Statement on Beginning of New Hampshire Health Protection Program Coverage

The so-called New Hampshire Health Protection Program is the formal title given to the bill, but represents the effort of the New Hampshire legislature to pass into law a subset of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) known as Medicaid expansion.  It allows those individuals who do not qualify for healthcare subsidies under the ACA to acquire healthcare services through the Medicaid program.  The Democratic-majority NH House passed the bill last year, but the Republican-majority senate would not concur.  Negotiations continued into the spring of this year, when both House and Senate came to agreement.

Medicaid expansion was an original component of the ACA, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that expansion must be left to the individual states.  As of mid-July, 25 state legislatures and the District of Columbia have opted to expand.  Among those states, the percentage of uninsured between the ages of 19 to 64 years of age fell from 20 percent to 10 percent.  The percentage of uninsured individuals among states refusing to opt into Medicaid expansion hovers at 36 percent.  Among ACA enrollees who obtained coverage through Medicaid or private health insurance issued through the ACA, 63 percent did not have health coverage, so either went without care and recovered or died, or went without care and got worse, necessitating expensive emergency-room treatment, or simply secured non-emergency care at the emergency room, passing costs on to those of us who pay for our care … about $1000 added to our premiums each year before passage of the ACA.

Passage of the Affordable Care Act represents a new dawn in healthcare opportunities for millions of Americans, in addition to securing better health, creating a new sense of personal independence, and promoting social and economic security.

Access to affordable health care is a moral issue.  It is a national disgrace that millions nationwide continue to be denied access to affordable health care; that the Republican-majority U.S. House of Representatives has voted more than 50 times to repeal what it disparagingly calls ObamaCare; that the party continues to threaten repeal if given the opportunity after the November election.

You know what to do on November 4 to practice the art of self defense:  Vote for Democratic candidates up and down the ballot.  Elections have consequences, especially this mid-term election.

See Governor Hassan's statement below, as well as important Affordable Care Act facts courtesy of the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

Monday, August 11, 2014                                     
Contact: William Hinkle
Office: (603) 271-2121; Cell: (336) 682-8799

Governor Hassan’s Statement on Beginning of New Hampshire Health Protection Program Coverage

CONCORD – After coverage under the bipartisan New Hampshire Health Protection Program (NHHPP) began today for 10,405 Granite Staters, Governor Maggie Hassan issued the following statement:

“In just over six weeks, 10,405 Granite Staters successfully signed up for affordable, quality health coverage as part of our bipartisan health care expansion plan. With the coverage beginning today, thousands of hard-working people and families now have the security and peace of mind that they deserve.

“The New Hampshire Health Protection Program will strengthen the health and economic well-being of New Hampshire families, businesses and communities. I am proud that we were able to work across party lines and meet aggressive timelines so that thousands have access to health care coverage starting today, and we anticipate thousands more applying in the coming months. I look forward to continuing to work with legislators from both parties, our federal partners and the hard-working public servants at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Insurance to maximize the benefits of health care expansion for all of our people and businesses.”

Earlier today, Governor Hassan helped kick off the beginning of coverage under the NHHPP at Families First Health & Support Center in Portsmouth, where she also presented a proclamation for Community Health Center Week. For the full text of the Governor’s Community Health Center Week proclamation, click here.


Bob Perry
NH State Representative
Strafford County District #3
Strafford and New Durham


Additional Resources

The Affordable Care Act Is Helping New Hampshire on NHDP
http://nhdp.org/the-affordable-care-act-is-helping-new-hampshire/


Friday, August 15, 2014

Governor Hassan Announces More Than 9,300 Approved Applications for the New Hampshire Health Protection Program

Qualifying for Medicaid in New Hampshire

To learn whether you or someone you know may qualify for health care under New Hampshire's expanded Medicaid law, visit www.nheasy.nh.gov.   Then select "Do I Qualify?" at the top middle of the page.

See additional contact information contained within the Governor's press release.

Monday, August 11, 2014                                     
Contact: William Hinkle
Office: (603) 271-2121; Cell: (336) 682-8799

Governor Hassan Announces More Than 9,300 Approved Applications for the New Hampshire Health Protection Program
Governor Also Proclaims New Hampshire Community Health Center Week During Visit to Lamprey Health Care in Nashua

CONCORD – Leading up to the beginning of health care coverage under the New Hampshire Health Protection Program (NHHPP) on August 15, Governor Maggie Hassan announced today that 9,399 applications for the New Hampshire Health Protection Program have been approved as of Friday evening, August 8.

“In just over a month of open enrollment for the New Hampshire Health Protection Plan, more than 9,300 Granite Staters have signed up for affordable, quality health care,” Governor Maggie Hassan said. “Thanks to our bipartisan health care expansion plan, thousands of Granite Staters have access to this important protection, which will strengthen the health and economic well-being of New Hampshire families, businesses and communities. When coverage begins on Friday, these people will finally have the comfort and security of affordable health coverage that they deserve, and we are excited for thousands more to apply in the coming months.”

Earlier in the day, Governor Hassan visited Lamprey Health Care in Nashua, where she proclaimed New Hampshire Community Health Center Week. Community health centers such as the Lamprey Health Care facility in Nashua provide primary and preventive care to New Hampshire’s medically underserved populations.

“Community health centers across our state have always worked to expand the reach of primary and preventive care, especially to medically underserved populations,” Governor Hassan said. “With expansion, they will continue to play a critical role in ensuring that Granite Staters receive the care that they need and deserve and they are also playing an important role in our outreach efforts to help people learn about and apply for health care coverage. I am honored to proclaim Community Health Center Week in New Hampshire to recognize their important contributions to the health and well-being of our people.”
Made possible by the bipartisan law that the Governor signed in March, the NHHPP expands access to health coverage to as many as 50,000 hard-working Granite Staters, including preventive care such as check-ups, emergency care due to accidents, and mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment. The expanded access to health care will improve health outcomes for low-income residents and reduce the level of uncompensated care that shifts costs onto all of New Hampshire’s businesses and people.
On July 28, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved the rates and benefits structure for both the current Medicaid population and the newly expanded population under the NHHPP.
“We still have a lot of hard work left to do in order to maximize the benefits of health care expansion for our people and our economy,” said Governor Hassan. “But the early success of the application process is exciting, and I thank all of the legislators from both parties who worked together to make the New Hampshire Health Protection Plan a reality, as well as Commissioner Toumpas, Commissioner Sevigny and the hard-working employees at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Insurance for their diligence to meet our aggressive timelines.”

New Hampshire Health Protection Insurance coverage will start on August 15. Applications can continue to be submitted online at www.nheasy.nh.gov or www.healthcare.gov, by calling the Medicaid Service Center at 1-888-901-4999, by downloading a paper application at www.dhhs.nh.gov or by visiting a DHHS district office.

Read the full text of the Governor’s Community Health Center Week proclamation online at http://www.governor.nh.gov/media/proclamations/2014/documents/community-health-center.pdf.


Bob Perry
NH State Representative
Strafford County District #3
Strafford and New Durham


Monday, August 11, 2014

Damned If He Does, Damned If He Doesn't

The Continuing Challenge of President Barack Obama

I represent two rural southeastern towns in the rural State of New Hampshire, those two towns being Strafford and New Durham.  We are fortunate that fate placed us in such a stable country, despite the different views, including the role of government, that divide us.

As with most state representatives, I do not receive communications from the President of the United States on any matters, so I humbly offer my opinion here knowing I do so as a novice on international affairs.  Indeed, the only people who know the greatest detail regarding the present tragedy in Iraq are those who attended high-level talks in the Situation Room late last week, a high-security area run by the National Security Council, located in the basement of the West Wing of the White House in Washington.  I do know President Obama as a pragmatic man, reluctant to rekindle U.S. involvement in an area of the world with a 1400 year history of hatreds passed from one generation to the next.  I am reminded of the 1950s vintage public service television announcement correctly observing:  "Kids aren't born with prejudice; you teach them."

As indicated in his 9:30 P.M. public announcement Thursday evening, the president reminds us that a military solution is not possible; only resolution created through political negotiation conducted in good faith. Our involvement in sparing the lives of those on a mountainous rock pile in the north of Iraq, and American interests within the City of Erbil can only temporarily assist our Kurdish allies.  It should be the direct responsibility of the Iraqi government to protect all of its citizens, but it has failed in that regard.  Yet, the determination of the militant group known as ISIS to control the entirety of Iraq will not stop with total control there.  It is therefore the responsibility of other nations to restore stability in Iraq, since a situation short of that threatens the global community, not just countries adjacent to the current focal point.

The excellent reporting done by MSNBC Newsman Steve Kornacki, filling in for Rachel Maddow Friday, August 8, among other program segments of that evening, presents a needed look back at the complicated nature of U.S./Iraq relations, serving as a backdrop for the decision President Obama made to support 40,000 men, women and children forced to seek temporary refuge from certain death atop a hot, dry, uninhabitable rock pile with nowhere to go.  News reports seem to confirm the deaths of 40 children already.  All of these innocent victims of war have only two options:  die of exposure or starvation, or descend the mountain to be slaughtered by members of ISIS.

I support the President in this humanitarian effort, as does the majority membership in congress.

The video below provides an overview of the status of the renewed U.S. involvement in Iraq, as of Friday evening, August 8, recognizing the evolution of the Iraq conflict has evolved by the hour.



This next video provides an enlightening and needed reminder of the U.S./Iraq relationship with a starting point of 1991.

The final video reveals President Obama's evolving position on genocide, and the profound significance use of the word has played on America's Presidents.



Bob Perry
NH State Representative
Strafford County District #3
Strafford and New Durham


Additional Resources

Pinpoint strikes, aid drops as US operations continue in Iraq on Rachel Maddow
http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/watch/pinpoint-strikes-aid-drops-continue-in-iraq-316730947682

American relationship with Iraqi Kurds long, complicated on Rachel Maddow
http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/watch/us-history-with-iraqi-kurds-long-complicated-316734531899

Obama's utterance of genocide causes scrutiny on Rachel Maddow
http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/watch/obama-utterance-of-genocide-draws-scrutiny-316748867586

Friday, August 8, 2014

Know Your Rights Regarding Offers for Pre-Paid Heating Fuel

Governor Hassan’s Statement on Signing HB 1282
Office of New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan

Friday, August 2, 2014                                  
Contact: William Hinkle
Office: (603) 271-2121; Cell: (336) 682-8799

CONCORD – Governor Maggie Hassan issued the following statement after today signing HB 1282, a measure relative to prepaid contracts for home heating fuel:
“In recent winters, a rising number of New Hampshire residents who have pre-buy oil contracts have found themselves in danger of running out of heating oil and facing an emergency situation. This bipartisan legislation represents an important step toward increasing consumer protection for residents who have pre-buy contracts, and I thank Representative Ford and legislators from both parties for working to address this critical issue.”
###
       
Experience has shown that the pre-buying of heating fuel comes with the risk that the company with which you have a contract breaches that contract in one form or another, and the consumer is without adequate recourse.

As we head into the season of pre-buying of heating fuel, I provide the pertinent text of House Bill 1282-FN.  A non-germane amendment was added to this bill.  For purposes of simplification and clarity, I have removed the section of the bill relative to that non-germane amendment.  Therefore, what appears below is the language specific to the pre-buy section of what is now law.

2014 SESSION
14-2375
05/01
HOUSE BILL 1282-FN

AN ACT relative to prepaid contracts for home heating fuel …
SPONSORS: Rep. Ford, Graf 3; Rep. Shurtleff, Merr 11; Rep. Spratt, Hills 4
COMMITTEE: Commerce and Consumer Affairs

AMENDED ANALYSIS
This bill:

I. Establishes minimum inventory, registration, and reporting requirements for home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas dealers who offer prepaid contracts.

II. Makes the failure to deliver home heating fuel in accordance with a prepaid contract a violation of the consumer protection act.

Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 Definition of Heating Fuel and Heating Fuel Season. Amend RSA 339:78, II to read as follows:

II. “Heating fuel” means heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas.

III. “Heating [oil] fuel season” means a period of 12 months beginning no earlier than May 1.

2 Requirements for Guaranteed Price Plans and Prepaid Contracts for Home Heating Fuel. Amend RSA 339:79, III to read as follows:

III. A contract that requires prepayment by the consumer or caps the price of heating [oil] fuel shall comply with paragraphs I and II of this section. Such contract also:
(a) Shall [not require consumers to commit for a term of more than one heating oil season. Such contracts shall be offered no earlier than January 1] not be advertised or solicited earlier than May 1 or later than October 31 of the year in which the heating [oil] fuel season begins. Such contracts may be signed prior to May 1 only at the request of the residential consumer.
(b) Shall require dealers to reimburse consumers at the contract price for any undelivered pre-purchased [oil] fuel, within 30 days after the contract ends, unless the dealer and consumer agree to different terms.
(c) Shall include a clear explanation of the means by which the dealer will meet the obligations of the contract for the entire contract period, including supplier agreements, futures contracts, bonding, [or] a line of credit or liquid product inventory.
(d) Shall not falsely claim coverage. Any dealer who falsely claims coverage or fails to maintain coverage until the completion of the contract shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor, in addition to other penalties as provided in paragraph VI.

3 Guaranteed Price Plans and Prepaid Contracts; Inventory Requirement. Amend RSA 339:79, IV(b) and (c) to read as follows:
(b) A surety bond, made payable to the attorney general, in an amount not less than 50 percent of the total amount of funds paid to the dealer by consumers pursuant to prepaid heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas contracts; [or]
(c) A letter of credit, made payable to the attorney general, from an FDIC-insured institution in an amount that represents 100 percent of the cost to the dealer of the maximum number of gallons that the dealer is committed to deliver pursuant to all prepaid contracts entered into by the dealer. The cost shall be calculated at the time the contracts are entered into[.]; or
(d) A liquid product inventory of home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas in an amount equal to 75 percent of the outstanding volume in gallons that the dealer is obligated to deliver under the terms of prepaid contracts in force.

4 New Paragraphs; Registration and Reporting Requirement; Dedicated Fund. Amend RSA 339:79 by inserting after paragraph V the following new paragraphs:
V-a. A home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas dealer who offers prepaid contracts under this section shall register the dealer’s intent to offer such contracts with the secretary of state by May 1 of each year. Registration shall be on a form provided by the secretary of state and shall indicate which securitization method or combination of methods listed in paragraph IV are used to secure the contracts.
V-b. A home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas dealer who offers prepaid contracts under this section shall file an annual report with the secretary of state by December 1 of each year demonstrating how the dealer has satisfied the requirements of this section, including how the prepaid contracts are secured. The report shall be made on a form provided by the secretary of state. The form shall conspicuously bear the warning that making a false statement on the form shall constitute an unfair or deceptive act or practice in violation of RSA 358-A. The report shall be signed by the dealer. If the dealer is a corporation, the report shall be signed by either the president or an officer of the corporation and shall include a list of all of the members of the board of directors of the corporation. The secretary of state may not charge a fee for the form or for filing the report.

5 New Paragraph; Acts Prohibited Under the Consumer Protection Act; Failure to Provide Timely Delivery of Home Heating Fuel. Amend RSA 358-A:2 by inserting after paragraph XIV the following new paragraph:

XV. Failing to deliver home heating fuel in accordance with a prepaid contract.


Bob Perry
NH State Representative
Strafford County District #3
Strafford and New Durham


Additional Resources


Image Credits:

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Thoughts on the Market Basket Workers

Carol Shea-Porter's Thoughts on the Market Basket Situation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 31, 2014
Contact:
Marjorie Connolly, 202-809-2859

Shea-Porter to Market Basket: Workers Deserve Support
Congresswoman Sends Letter to DeMoulas Board of Directors

WASHINGTON, DC—Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) today sent a letter to the DeMoulas Super Markets, Inc. Board of Directors, encouraging them to find a resolution that supports the Market Basket workforce.

“Please work to fix the current problems and restore the relationship workers have had with the company. They are a true asset and deserve recognition and support,” Shea-Porter wrote. “I hope they will not be fired simply for standing up and supporting a business and management they all have loyally served.”

Constituents affected by the Market Basket standoff have reached out to Shea-Porter, whose district contains 15 Market Basket stores.

Full text of Shea-Porter’s letter is below.
###

July 31, 2014

Board of Directors
DeMoulas Super Markets, Inc.
875 East Street
Tewksbury, MA 01876

Dear Members of the Board:

Market Basket has been part of our New Hampshire landscape for so long, and Granite Staters have had very positive feelings about their local stores. The quality and the prices have certainly been part of the reason for its success, but ask any shopper and he or she will tell you it’s because of the wonderful, loyal workforce. Ask the workforce, and they will tell you it was because of the management.

Please work to fix the current problems and restore the relationship workers have had with the company. They are a true asset and deserve recognition and support. I hope they will not be fired simply for standing up and supporting a business and management they all have loyally served.

Sincerely,

Carol Shea-Porter
Member of Congress


My Own Thoughts as State Representative of Strafford and New Durham

As a member of the Democratic Party, thus a fundamental supporter of working men and women, I express my support for the loyal employees at all Market Basket stores, and include these additional thoughts:

Under the benevolent management of Arthur T. DeMoulas, Market Basket has amassed a dedicated  consumer base and committed workforce of thousands who now risk their economic security by demanding the reinstatement of its now ousted benevolent corporate manager.  This loyalty to man, manager, and corporate entity is rare in America.  The business model of Arthur T. DeMoulas acting on behalf of DeMoulas Super Markets, Inc., should serve as a role model for other corporations, especially in this era of robust corporate profits, outsourcing of American jobs to overseas destinations, and deliberate corporate tax evasion made possible by U.S. entities exchanging an American address for a foreign address by merging with foreign entities, while continuing to do business as usual in America … 47 major American corporations to date providing economic support to folks in other countries, rather than pay their fair share of taxes in support of Americans. Shame on them.  DeMoulas Super Markets, Inc., stands in sharp contrast.

It is my hope that the DeMoulas family will soon regret the blemish it has inflicted upon its own family name and that of the market's founder by quickly resolving its differences and restoring the economic security of its employees and economic benefits to its consumers, as it has done for so long, so publicly, and so successfully in the past.  


Bob Perry
NH State Representative
Strafford County District #3
Strafford and New Durham


Additional Resources
State AGs say they're keeping eye on Market Basket situation
AGs warn board to follow employment laws on WMUR ABC Website
http://www.wmur.com/money/state-ags-say-theyre-keeping-eye-on-market-basket-situation/27251902#!buGyXi


Meet and Plan to Elect Democrats at the Strafford County Democratic Committee Annual Picnic

Strafford County Annual Picnic

The Strafford County Annual Picnic is the county committee's major fundraiser, and is the opportunity for members of the public to show their support for the values of Democratic candidates and the various planks of the Democratic Party Platform while enjoying the health and economic benefits of local food products.

Practice Self Defense


The official Democratic Party Platform is provided on the NHDP website at the link below for your convenience in understanding the core values of our party and our candidates.  Many of these core values are in conflict with the values expressed in the Republican Party Platform, to be posted at this site soon.  Voter participation in the September 9 primary and November 4 general election will determine the course of political governance in the State of New Hampshire for the next two years and beyond.  Please take the time to review the critically important Democratic principles set out below.

Thank you.

Bob Perry
NH State Representative
Strafford County District #3
Strafford and New Durham


Additional Resources

Democratic Party Platform adopted June 14, 2014
http://nhdp.org/who-we-are/our-platform/

Image Credits:
http://nhdp.org/

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Understanding the Social Security Act

The Social Security Act of 1935

The following is a modified version of a letter to the editor I recently sent to various NH newspapers:

What is the Social Security program?

Signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on August 14, 1935, the program has evolved into three components, each providing distinct benefits 1) to the qualified, retired elderly; 2) to the disabled; and 3) to the children of deceased workers.  These benefits are made possible through taxes imposed on employees, employers, and the self-employed.  The tax just referred to, known as the payroll deduction tax, payroll tax, or FICA – Federal Insurance Contributions Act, also funds Medicare and institutions that provide health care to workers who do not have health insurance, nor sufficient resources to pay for that care.

The current Social Security tax rate is 12.4 percent, 6.2 percent of which is withheld both from employer and employee.  The full 12.4 percent is paid by the self-employed.

It should be apparent that the FICA tax provides sweeping benefits to Americans in ways not fully known by many, and to the detriment of millions if gutted by opponents, who refer to the program disparagingly as “entitlements,” as if a form of undeserved welfare.

Beginning May 21, 1981, President Reagan penned a series of letters to congressional leaders and members of the National Commission on Social Security Reform urging passage of legislation preserving Social Security for current recipients, and future generations.  In one letter, he warns “There has been a great deal of misinformation and, for that matter, pure demagoguery on the subject of social security.” In another, he states “… I deplore the opportunistic political maneuvering, cynically designed to play on the fears of many Americans, that some in the Congress are initiating at this time.  These efforts appear designed to exploit an issue rather than find a solution to the urgent Social Security program.”

Thirty-three years later, that misinformation continues, aided, in part, by the contribution by Pete Peterson of $1 billion towards the destruction of the Social Security program; and by those who call for cuts in benefits or privatization.

As Americans living in a representative democracy, we may enjoy the benefits of whatever the majority agrees upon, is willing to fund, and is legal, and we must not be influenced by the protestations of those who disagree in principle with the existence of social programs.

Also at play is the fatalistic view of too many younger Americans who insist the Social Security program will not be there for them.  History proves them wrong.  The Social Security program has never missed a payment, and is backed “by the full faith and credit of the United States.”

Defying purveyors of misinformation, the 1983 Amendment is credited with leading to the current $2.6 trillion surplus in the Social Security Trust Fund.  Credit must also be extended to President Jimmy Carter for his 1977 contributions to the stability of the Social Security program.

Social Security does not contribute to the national deficit, nor the national debt; administrative costs approximate one percent; is prohibited from borrowing; is financed by those who get direct, guaranteed benefits; and any funds borrowed must be repaid with interest.

A boost in Social Security benefits is warranted:  The annual cost-of-living allowance has not kept pace with inflation; average monthly benefits equal a person working at minimum wage.  At current benefit levels, Social Security spending by recipients adds $775 billion per year to the nation’s economy.  Boosting benefits translates to boosting our economy.

Bills in Congress would raise monthly benefits $70/month, welcome news to the 58 million beneficiaries of the earned-benefit, anti-poverty insurance program known as Social Security.

Bob Perry
NH State Representative
Strafford County District #3
Strafford and New Durham


Additional Resources

Boost Social Security Now by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare
www.boostsocialsecuritynow.org.

Social Security Act of 1935 Read the original Act on the Social Security Website  http://www.ssa.gov/history/35act.html

Social Security Act on Wikipedia   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Security_Act

Administering Social Security Challenges Yesterday and Today on Social Security Administration website  http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v70n3/v70n3p27.html

Image Credits:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Security_Act
http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v70n3/v70n3p27.html