Protect Patients First

July 12, 2017                                                           

The New Hampshire Hospital Association (NHHA), New Hampshire Medical Society (NHMS) and AARP New Hampshire have joined in opposition to the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) currently under consideration in the US Senate.

Our three organizations oppose the BCRA because it would erode health protections for millions of Americans and expose them to increased costs and health risks. We believe that any health care legislation should have the goal of protecting patients first.

We are concerned that the BCRA would reduce funding for Medicare by cutting nearly $59 billion over 10 years from the Hospital Insurance trust fund, which would hasten Medicare’s insolvency and diminish the program’s ability to pay for services in the future. This would affect hospitals, doctors and consumers by reducing revenue and making it more difficult to provide services to Medicare patients.  To put a sharper point on the issue, New Hampshire hospitals are projected to receive approximately $1.5 billion less in Medicare reimbursements over the next decade, reductions that were enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act to help pay for the coverage expansions that have occurred.  To maintain those spending reductions while millions of people lose health insurance coverage is simply not feasible.

The BCRA threatens protection for people with employer-sponsored health coverage by weakening consumer protections that ban insurance companies from capping how much they will cover annually or over a person’s lifetime – leaving people vulnerable to costs that could be financially catastrophic for them.

In addition, the bill cuts over $700 billion from Medicaid by creating a capped financing structure in the Medicaid program. This could lead to cuts in provider payments, program eligibility, covered services or all three, ultimately harming some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens and dramatically impacting providers’ ability to serve patients and communities who depend on them every day. It has been estimated that this would result in over $1.4 billion in reduced federal spending on Medicaid in New Hampshire over the next decade.  Where would New Hampshire turn to find the resources necessary to care for our most vulnerable citizens?

According to the CBO, the BCRA will leave 22 million more people uninsured, including more than 118,000  Granite State residents who were able to secure vital health coverage through the Affordable Care Act, making it more difficult for our most vulnerable to receive the services they need to stay in their homes. Without health coverage for, and therefore access to, critical health services, patients will seek care in emergency rooms, ultimately raising uncompensated care costs for hospitals throughout New Hampshire and increasing cost-shifting to New Hampshire businesses.

We believe that the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) needs to be viewed through the eyes of patients and the caregivers that take care of them, and should make protecting health care coverage for our most vulnerable citizens a higher priority.  We remain opposed to the BCRA and urge the Senate to start over and create a new version of legislation that protects coverage for those who have it and provides coverage for those who need it most.

We appreciate the efforts of both of our senators to protect access to affordable health care for all Granite Staters and we urge them to continue to work toward bi-partisan solutions that will cover more people, not less, and reduce health care costs, including insurance premiums and the high cost of prescription drugs.

Todd C. Fahey                                  Stephen Ahnen                                                          James Potter

State Director                                    President                                                                    Executive Vice President

AARP New Hampshire                     New Hampshire Hospital Association                         New Hampshire Medical Society   


New Hampshire hospitals have been coming together through the New Hampshire Hospital Association for more than 80 years to advocate and support public policy that ensures citizens of the Granite State have access to high quality, affordable care.  AARP is a consumer organization representing the interests of over 230,000 people over Age 50 in New Hampshire. A principal interest of those members is affordable, quality healthcare. Founded in 1791, the New Hampshire Medical Society is dedicated and committed to advocating for patients, physicians, and the medical profession, as well as health-related rights, responsibilities and issues for the betterment of public health in the Granite State.