TONIGHT, St. Anselm College will host Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. New Hampshire has a long history of inviting political leaders from across the ideological spectrum to speak to our engaged and highly informed citizenry. In keeping with this tradition, I want to welcome Chairwoman Wasserman Schultz to the Granite State and, despite our political differences, praise her for laying out what I believe is an outstanding campaign strategy for her party in the upcoming elections.
In a recent interview with CNN, Wasserman Schultz profusely praised the disastrous rollout of the President's health care agenda and called Obamacare an "advantage" for Democrats in 2014. When pressed on whether vulnerable Democrats like Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Gov. Maggie Hassan and Reps. Anne Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter would highlight their support for this failed program, she declared, "You're darn right."
As a Republican, I am excited to hear that the head of the Democrat Party will instruct her candidates to base their campaigns on one of the most epic public policy debacles in recent memory. Her Democrat candidates will be forced to explain their dishonest statements and be pressed to take credit for the disastrous consequences of this terrible law as they fully embrace this campaign "advantage."
In addition to defending her deciding vote for Obamacare, Sen. Shaheen will need to explain why she knowingly parroted the infamous phrase that has undermined President Obama's credibility and imperiled his presidency: "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan." Now we know this isn't true. Sen. Shaheen knew it wasn't true when she said it.
Millions of people across the country have lost their health plans, and this phony promise was declared the "Lie of the Year" by PolitiFact. But Sen. Shaheen has failed to acknowledge this lie and apologize to her constituents for misleading them with false and dishonest claims.
In New Hampshire, more than 22,000 people have received insurance cancellation notices so far, and many of them are being forced to sign up for new plans through Obamacare's broken insurance exchange. At this point, only one New Hampshire insurer has agreed to offer coverage though the federal exchange, resulting in a compete lack of marketplace competition that was promised by Sen. Shaheen and other Obamacare boosters.
The mismanagement and incompetence of the Obama administration have also resulted in a dysfunctional website that doesn't allow Granite Staters to even sign up for the insurance coverage that they are mandated to obtain. The much-publicized meltdown of healthcare.gov resulted in a paltry number of New Hampshire residents — only 269 — that were able to successfully select Obamacare plans during the first month of enrollment.
Additionally, the high cost of coverage through Obamacare has wreaked havoc in our network of hospitals in New Hampshire, causing devastating hospital network cutbacks. Only 16 of our state's 26 hospitals are available on the Obamacare exchange. Patients will be forced to give up their doctors, drive long distances to get inferior care and pay more in the end.
New Hampshire is dealing with these disastrous consequences because Democrats ignored the will of the people and instead used twisted parliamentary procedures to jam this bill through Congress along strict party lines.
Obamacare is destroying our health care system. Sen. Shaheens's 60th vote for this wreck of a plan has hurt hard-working, middle- class Granite Staters who have been burdened with higher health care costs and reduced access to quality health care.
Republicans understand that this bad law is the wrong approach to addressing our health care challenges and has made things much worse for the millions of Americans who will lose their coverage. Our candidates understand that Obamacare must be repealed and replaced with free-market solutions that will reduce costs, increase access and open the door to innovation and improved health care outcomes, without a government takeover of our health care system.
We welcome Chairwoman Wasserman Schultz to New Hampshire and welcome her promise to double down on Obamacare and highlight the unwavering support of Democrats for a failed law that has adversely affected so many people across our state. We are confident that her strategy will help us remind Granite Staters that the first step in undoing the devastating damage caused by Obamacare is to replace Sen. Shaheen, Gov. Hassan and Reps. Shea-Porter and Kuster with responsible Republicans in 2014.
Jennifer Horn of Nashua is chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party.