What NH officials are saying about Obama's ACA extension proposal
Here's what Gov. Maggie Hassan and members of the state's congressional delegation said Thursday about President Barack Obama's announcement that he will let insurers extend health plans into 2014.
- Hassan (D) spokesman: "While the Insurance Department is reviewing today's announcement to determine the impact to New Hampshire given that Anthem customers have already had the option to renew, the governor believes extending this option to more people for a longer period of time is an encouraging step. The federal government must still redouble efforts to fix problems with the federal HealthCare.gov web site in order for individuals to fully evaluate all of their options for affordable, quality health coverage."
- Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) spokesman: "Senator Shaheen thinks giving people whose plans are being cancelled a chance to renew their insurance for a year is a step in the right direction and will give consumers more time to transition to new health insurance. She also thinks we need to extend the sign up period due to the ongoing problems with the HealthCare.gov website."
- Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R): "The President is punting the responsibility of fulfilling his promise that Americans would be able to keep their health care plans. His proposal doesn't come close to solving any of Obamacare's underlying structural problems that have resulted in cancelled policies, increased premium costs, and lost work hours. There should be a complete time out on Obamacare so that Congress can repeal this unworkable law and enact real reforms that will allow Americans to have access to the health care they need, from the doctor they want, at a price they can afford."
- Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D): I am encouraged that Congress and the President are both working on fixes to make the Affordable Care Act work better. In New Hampshire, people who buy individual market policies from Anthem already have the option of renewing their current coverage by November 15th, and keeping their hospital network and doctors for another year. Consumers should carefully compare their old insurance policies to new options, because the old policies might not offer the same benefits and protections that will be in effect on January 1, 2014 under the Affordable Care Act. These old plans will also not be eligible for tax subsidies. Congress must continue to fix the problems that arise with the Affordable Care Act. But we cannot go back to the days when health insurance companies could deny men and women coverage due to a preexisting condition, or cancel a person's policy when they need it most."
- Rep. Annie Kuster (D): "In New Hampshire, Granite Staters already have the option of renewing their current plans. Families across the country should be able to do the same, and I encourage good-faith efforts to make that possible. I support the Keep Your Health Plan Act in its current form, and am pleased that the President has proposed his own fix. It's encouraging that both Congress and the President are working to get this right. The Affordable Care Act is not a perfect law and I am committed to improving it, but make no mistake: we cannot go back to the days when insurance companies were free to deny coverage to those with preexisting conditions or drop people from their plans just because they get sick."
Kuster also announced support for Shaheen's legislation that would extend the enrollment period and ensure that no Granite Staters are penalized because of problems with HealthCare.gov.