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Friday, June 7, 2013

Medicaid vote an ideological mess

Telegraph Editorial

In the months since the November election, Senate Repubilcans have argued they bare little resemblance to the their ideolically-
driven colleagues who lost the majority in the House of Representatives.

They showed otherwise this week. ...

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In the months since the November election, Senate Repubilcans have argued they bare little resemblance to the their ideolically-
driven colleagues who lost the majority in the House of Representatives.

They showed otherwise this week.

Driven by a Republican majority, members of the state Senate ignored the pleas of voters and the medical community Thursday when they declined to include a proposed Medicaid expansion in their 2014 budget proposal.

Democratic leaders and medical professionals have spent weeks pushing the expansion, which they contend would expand Medicaid coverage to more than 58,000 of the state’s most needy residents. Dozens of local residents turned out Monday in Milford to share their support for the expansion with Senate President Peter Bragdon.

Still, Bragdon and other Senate Republicans ignored the pleas, rejecting the expansion plans outright. The move now paves the way for an epic battle with House Democrats, who support the matter, as they work to reconcile their respective spending plans.

Bragdon has argued for weeks that his position – that the federal government can’t be counted on to come through with the promised $2.5 billion in funding – isn’t ideological. But with no evidence supporting his fears, how could they be anything but?

If the federal government had ever reneged on a penny of its Medicaid responsibility Bragdon would have a point. It hasn’t and he doesn’t.

Day by day, Bragdon and his Senate Republicans brethren come closer and closer to channeling ousted House Speaker Bill O’Brien and his disgraced leadership team. In their philistine fight to dismantle government, O’Brien et al. cut many essential programs to the bone, leaving some of the state’s neediest out in the cold. Last November, voters rewarded O’Brien by ousting many of his colleagues and relegating him to the back bench.

With regards to Medicaid, it’s a lesson Bragdon and his followers should pay closer attention to.

New Hampshire voters aren’t an ideological bunch and they don’t appreciate it from their elected leaders, either.