Portsmouth Herald: Anti-reform event protests high costs of 'Obamacare'
NEW CASTLE — With most parts of health care reform set to go into effect Jan. 1, and the opening of new health insurance exchanges less than six weeks away, conservatives are still putting up a fight against “Obamacare.”
Opponents of the Affordable Care Act are even ramping up efforts as the nation gets closer to key dates in the health care overhaul plan. Americans for Prosperity New Hampshire hosted an outdoor “Wrong for New Hampshire” anti-reform rally at the Great Island Common Thursday night that attracted more than 75 people.
In addition to offering guests Subway sandwiches, chips, drinks and cookies, the rally also served up opinions from local conservative leaders about why President Barack Obama’s plan to change health care for the better is actually completely wrong for regular citizens.
“This is just a train wreck,” said state Rep. Pam Tucker, R-Greenland.
Tucker, former state Rep. Will Smith of New Castle and Rye’s Diane Bitter, secretary of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee, all railed against “Obamacare” at the event. So did Greg Moore, state director of AFP-N.H.
AFP-N.H. is the local chapter of Americans for Prosperity, an influential conservative political advocacy group founded with the financial support of oil-rich billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch.
Moore said AFP-N.H. is hosting a series of rallies across the state to bring attention to the implications of aspects of the impending health care reform. He and others raised concerns about soaring rates, the effects on employers and the costs that employees will face if employers drop health care plans and force workers into exchanges.
Federal officials say new health insurance exchanges will open for enrollment Oct. 1. Intended as one-stop online marketplaces, the exchanges will allow individuals to purchase health insurance and determine whether they are eligible for Medicaid, insurance premium tax credits and/or a cost-sharing subsidy.
Moore said that since Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is the only insurance company qualified by the state to participate in the federally operated exchange, those who are currently insured who have to enter into exchanges could theoretically lose the ability to continue seeing their current doctors.
Members of the liberal Granite State Progress attended Thursday’s event. Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins said the group has followed AFP at its rallies to combat its “misinformation” about the law.
In an interview with a reporter, Moore noted it would be cheaper for some who don’t want health insurance to pay the fine for not having insurance than to purchase health care. Hawkins claimed Moore’s comments are part of a national conservative campaign to discourage young-adult males from getting health care coverage in an effort to undermine the law.
“While actual consumer health advocates are looking for ways to get more people covered, groups like Americans for Prosperity are working to obstruct health reform and make it as confusing as possible, all so they can use health reform as a political wedge issue in the next election,” she said.
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