GSP Video – Notter’s Notions: Anti-Choice State Representative Makes Outrageous Claim in Committee Hearing (Again)

Leading anti-choice politician Jeanine Notter is at it again, this time claiming that she saw kidney bean size fetus “running up the uterine wall, playing” in sonogram; will Governor Sununu and other politicians side with Notter’s Notions or women’s health?

CONCORD, NH – Granite State Progress is releasing a video of State Representative Jeanine Notter (R-Merrimack) making outrageous claims in committee again, this time seeking to restrict abortion after 8 weeks by claiming she saw a tiny fetus running up a uterine wall in a sonogram. Notter was featured in a previous Granite State Progress video claiming that birth control causes prostate cancer.

Transcript Minute 0:48 as Rep. Notter holds fingers inch apart: “I saw a video of a tiny, tiny, little baby, tiny little baby, running up the uterine wall, playing.”

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins: “The anti-choice lobby in New Hampshire has introduced numerous bills that seek to block access to contraception and abortion and shame and demean women who seek them. Much like Notter’s statements, this legislation is not based in medical science but will restrict women’s access to health care. Governor Sununu and state lawmakers have a responsibility to publicly denounce this legislation and make it clear they will not support attacks on women’s reproductive rights. Governor Sununu either stands with extreme politicians like Jeanine Notter, or he stands with Granite State women.”

Background

The Trump Administration and Congress, along with State Representative Jeanine Notter and others, are targeting access to quality, affordable health care, especially women’s health. The Trump Administration recently established a new ‘conscience and religious freedom’ division at HHS that ABC News reported “will likely pave the way for health care workers to refuse specific types of care, like birth control or abortion, based on their religious or conscience objections.”

NH’s HB 1787 would also allow health care providers from a physician to a nurse or even pharmacy employee to reject providing women contraception or abortion care. The bill will have a full House vote next week along with HB 1707, mandatory 24-hour waiting period on women seeking abortion services; HB 1721 which would label women seeking an abortion as ‘vulnerable’ and restrict her access; and HB 1680 which would prohibit abortions after viability – the decision of which would be made solely by the treating physician and without any basis in medical standards.

Rep. Notter is a sponsor of all four bills. Notter’s remarks on video were in support of an amendment she was seeking on another bill to establish viability at 8 weeks – a time at which a fetus is still the size of a kidney bean. Also, it’s unclear how she had five pregnancies without learning anything about development. More information and a petition to Governor Sununu and state legislators is available at www.GraniteStateProgressEducation.org.

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While Governor Sununu Spews Gun Lobby Talking Points, Next Door a Republican Governor Takes Real Action to Reduce Gun Violence

Vermont Governor Phil Scott announces support for a package of gun reform laws; says Governor, legislature have ‘tremendous responsibility’ to act

Concord, NH – Yesterday in New Hampshire, Governor Chris Sununu joined NHPR The Exchange where he doubled down on opposition to common sense gun reforms, including keeping firearms off our college campuses and out of our elementary and high schools, and preventing assault weapons and bump stocks from proliferating our streets.

Next door in Vermont at the same time, Governor Phil Scott, also a Republican, held a press conference announcing a package of gun reform laws, saying the Governor and legislature have a ‘tremendous responsibility’ to act.

Statement from Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress: “The very first bill Governor Sununu ever signed into law allows dangerous individuals to bring guns into our elementary schools, and time and again he has opposed allowing schools to enforce gun free zones. He has show great disregard for facts when it comes to gun violence prevention, instead spewing gun lobby talking points. It is time for all politicians, from Governor Sununu to our state senators and representatives, to safeguard our children from gun violence. This includes closing the background checks loophole and creating safe spaces for our children to learn and grow. States absolutely have a responsibility to act, and Governor Sununu needs to stop shirking his responsibilities.”

Statement from New Hampshire resident Clai Lasher-Sommers, Executive Director of GunSenseVT and a survivor of gun violence: “Governor Scott has shown leadership and great care in agreeing to sign gun safety bills in the state of Vermont.  He is a gun owner and hunter who has declared that Vermont children should be safe at school, and he does not believe that teachers should be armed.  The Vermont state senate leadership, especially Senator Dick Sears, have stayed true to the idea that we need to be safe from gun violence.”

More Background:

NBC 5: Governor proposes sweeping changes to Vermont gun laws
In remarkable policy shift, Republican Gov. Phil Scott announces support for a suite of gun reform laws and said the legislature has a ‘tremendous responsibility’ to act, despite strong opposition from second amendment groups.
http://www.mynbc5.com/article/governor-proposes-sweeping-changes-to-vermont-gun-laws/18661111

NHPR The Exchange: Governor Sununu (minutes 1:20 to 18:30)
Governor Sununu shirks responsibility for preventing gun violence and opposes popular common sense reforms. Sununu doubles down on allowing campus carry, which was rejected later in the day by the New Hampshire House (minute 17:30), and on keeping firearms out of our elementary and high schools. Sununu also scapegoats the mental health community but opposes strengthening prevention and supports.
http://nhpr.org/post/governor-sununu-takes-stock-his-first-year-office-and-takes-your-questions

Concord Monitor: Sununu says feds should be the ones setting gun policy
http://www.concordmonitor.com/Sununu-says-NH-has-good-gun-laws-15747439

State of the State: Governor Sununu’s Track Record on Guns in Schools
https://granitestateprogress.org/2018/02/15/state-of-the-state-governor-sununus-track-record-on-guns-in-schools/

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Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems.

GSP Statement on House Vote in Opposition to Campus Carry, and Senate Public Hearing on Gun Free Schools

Campus carry fails in NH House 231-110, State Senate amendment means schools will get public hearing on gun free school zones

Concord, NH – Today the NH House soundly voted down HB 1542, which would have forced universities and community colleges in New Hampshire to allow firearms on campus, by a margin of 231-110. The bill was opposed by university administration, law enforcement, students, and parents. At the same time this morning, Senator Martha Hennessey (D-Hanover) introduced an amendment on the Senate floor to clarify that local school districts can establish and enforce gun free school zones. While federal law allows schools to do so, state politicians like Governor Chris Sununu have vocally opposed local school districts protecting our children and a recent statement from the Attorney General’s office has left school boards in murky water on state law.

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“Guns have no place on college campuses and we applaud the House vote. We are pleased to see the Senate taking up an amendment to keep guns out of our elementary and high schools as well. Federal law clearly allows school districts to protect our children, but too many gun lobby backed politicians in Concord have stood in the way. In fact, the very first bill Governor Sununu ever signed into law allows dangerous individuals to bring guns into our elementary schools, and time and again he has opposed allowing schools to enforce gun free zones. It is time for all politicians, from Governor Sununu to our state senators and representatives, to safeguard our children from gun violence. This includes closing the background checks loophole, limiting the use of assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and creating safe spaces for our children to learn and grow.”

Since 2009, Granite State Progress has tracked and weighed in on firearms policy at the state and federal level, and convenes the NH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition.

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Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems.

 

Positives and Major Flaws with SB 313, NH’s Medicaid Expansion Reauthorization Bill

The following is a copy of Granite State Progress & Education Fund testimony to the State Senate Finance Committee on SB 313, the Medicaid expansion reauthorization bill.

Chairman Gary Daniels
Senate Finance Committee
New Hampshire Senate
Concord, New Hampshire, 03301

February 20, 2018

RE:       SB 313, Reforming New Hampshire’s Medicaid and Premium Assistance Program

Dear Chairman Daniels, Vice Chairman Reagan, and Committee Members,

Thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony regarding SB 313, Reforming New Hampshire’s Medicaid and Premium Assistance Program.  Granite State Progress & Education Fund supports Medicaid expansion reauthorization and the underlying goals of this legislation.

Granite State Progress & Education Fund is a multi-issue advocacy organization working on issues of immediate state and local concern. For the last decade, our organization has engaged in activities to increase access to quality, affordable health care in New Hampshire, and to ensure consumers know about the programs and protections available to them.

Medicaid expansion reauthorization is critical to ensure 50,000 lower income Granite Staters have access to quality, affordable health care.

New Hampshire has come together time and again to craft an innovative, bipartisan solution to draw down federal dollars and expand access to health care coverage in New Hampshire. As Governor Chris Sununu said in his State of the State, we all agree Medicaid expansion should be reauthorized – it’s just a matter of how we do it. As the legislature works to craft a uniquely New Hampshire solution, we call on you to focus on reducing barriers to coverage in order to improve the lives of Granite Staters and keep our state healthy and strong.

Positive aspects of the current version of SB 313, which we support, include:

Reauthorization for 5 years, which is a positive step toward providing stability for Medicaid expansion enrollees;

Establishing behavioral health rates sufficient to ensure access to, and provider capacity for, all behavioral health services including substance use disorder services;

Establishing the Granite Workforce Pilot Program to promote job and work preparation in high labor need areas, such as health care, advanced manufacturing, construction and building trades, information technology, and hospitality; and to create a network of assistance to eliminate barriers to work such as transportation and child care issues;

While the bill establishes a work requirement, which is not ideal, we do appreciate that it provides exceptions for those who participate in community engagement activities such as job training, job search assistance, educational training (GED, college, or vocational), community service, caregiver responsibilities, and substance abuse disorder treatment.

We are similarly pleased to see the current bill includes having MCO’s (Managed Care Organizations) help people enroll in private health insurance when they are ready to transition out of the program. Over the last several months our organization conducted a statewide public education and publicity campaign to inform Granite Staters how to enroll in the private health insurance marketplace before the annual deadline, an effort which involved direct mail, digital content, neighbor to neighbor outreach, and enrollment fairs throughout the state. Medicaid expansion enrollees will not have the benefit of a massive public education drive to educate and inform them about how to get enrolled, and that is why it is critical that we create a system that helps them sign up and reduces potential gaps in coverage.

These are all provisions that will help ensure our program remains strong and stable while taking into consideration the very real situations facing Granite State families, and which we encourage you to keep in place as legislative debate continues.

We also have major concerns with parts of the bill that the committee will need to address:

Continuity of Care – We are pleased to see that the current bill includes prior authorization for treatment and medications when a consumer transitions from the premium assistance program to MCO’s. This is a critical provision to ensure no one loses care during transitions from one program to another. We would further encourage the legislature to consider expanding prior authorization from 90 days to 120 or 180 days. If the MCO’s are doing their job, an individual should not need prior authorization for that long but this is a safeguard we can build in for Medicaid expansion enrollees, and one that will incentivize MCO’s to ensure the new care plan is quickly put into place.

Incentives – The bill mentions incentives and it makes sense to include them to lower health care costs, as long as they are pro-active measures to encourage positive behavior, rather than policies that penalize or increase barriers to coverage. We urge the legislature to make it clear that the legislative intent is to provide incentives like wellness classes or gas cards for individuals who take pro-active steps to lower health care costs, rather than harmful measures like increased cost-sharing that only hurts Granite State families trying to utilize the health care we want to make sure they have available.

For example, if I am a parent working two jobs and have a child with a high fever, I may not have the time to wait and take my child to a primary care physician in the morning. If I work at a job without earned sick leave, I might be risking my employment or my income to stay home multiple days. A family should not be penalized for having to make tough decisions, but they could receive incentives for making less costly choices when possible.

Medicaid Expansion Work Requirement & Barriers to Coverage – Creating and enforcing work requirements has been found to be cost-ineffective and burdensome, and we have included a recent article from Governing that speaks to this reality. As it appears the New Hampshire legislature is committed to this idea, we call on you to craft a program that reduces the barriers that create the need for a program like Medicaid expansion in the first place. The current bill seeks to do this in two ways: it creates work requirement exceptions for those in education or job education, or those with caregiving responsibilities or undergoing substance use disorder treatment; and it establishes the Granite Workforce Pilot Program to eliminate barriers to work such as transportation and child care issues. We urge the legislature to strengthen these provisions by:

Including exemptions for parents of young children. While parents or caretakers for children under 6 years of age are excluded from the work requirement, this exemption should be adjusted up to age 16 – or at least an age at which a young child could be left home alone unsupervised after-school unless child care is provided by the State of New Hampshire.

Expanding Granite Workforce Pilot Program and establishing a two-year pilot program to ensure adequate data. While SB 313 establishes the Granite Workforce Pilot Program to eliminate barriers to work such as transportation and child care issues, the pilot program is only slated for 6 months which is barely enough time to set up a program with an individual let alone implement and evaluate it, and only includes referrals. A pilot program of at least two years and which addresses those barriers directly would provide more data. But more to the point – the work requirement will continue even after the pilot program ends, jeopardizing health care for people who experience those barriers, so as long as the work requirement is in place, New Hampshire should have a wrap-around network. Work requirements without serious barrier reduction efforts only set people up to fail. Lastly, TANF funds can only be directed to childless adults 18 through 24 years of age, so SB 313 currently leaves a huge barrier gap for those older than 24 years of age.

Funding – SB 313 funds the state portion of Medicaid expansion, in part, by adding more funding to the alcohol abuse prevention and treatment fund and then allocating that to the Medicaid expansion program. We cannot expand Medicaid by cutting other key public health programs. The legislature needs to amend the bill to assert that the alcohol fund will not dip below funding levels as of January 1, 2018 for any program or service that would have been funded from the fund originally.

It is the responsibility of Governor Sununu and the legislature to craft a New Hampshire solution that continues access to health care coverage in our state.

We encourage you to listen to the testimony provided here today and to take into consideration these points as you finalize the New Hampshire Granite Advantage Health Care Program. If our organization can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.