On Friday, January 23, Health and Human Services Commissioner, Nick Toumpas told reporters after a Legislative Fiscal Committee meeting, there was a need to reduce NH nursing homes Medicaid reimbursement by $7 million dollars. That is right. $7,000,000 dollars. As Hassan and Co. promote this “fiscally responsible” cut because of a $54 million dollar budget shortfall, one needs to question just what ARE our leaders’ priorities.
Some stated reasons for the budget shortfall include, start-up costs for Medicaid Expansion (I thought Medicaid Expansion was going to be paid by the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT?), a legal settlement over the state’s mental health system and federal changes which make many more low income children eligible for Medicaid. I am sure we can find other reasons, but the fact is, we have a budget with a hole you can drive a truck through. And part of the answer, apparently, is to put this shortfall on the backs of our elderly, our taxpayers, and those most in need.
Governor Hassan tells us taking money away from caring for seniors and the disabled in nursing homes is “fiscally responsible”. I totally disagree. It is most extraordinary that this administration will go far and wide to fund abortion clinics, but will take money away from seniors who are in our New Hampshire nursing homes. We should be fulfilling our promise to take care of our seniors in need. These nursing homes have already built their budgets on this promised state funding. These cuts could seriously undermine the care of those in our nursing homes. How can this be called “responsible”?
When NH Health and Human Services submitted its budget requests in 2013, HHS asked for $335,000 in “family planning funds”. Governor Hassan increased this to $900,000 and then awarded contracts in the amount of over $1.25 million in state funds. Hassan claims this was just “restoring” funding of Planned Parenthood, but that is not a true statement. Planned Parenthood was already seeing a greatly increased amount of funding due to the expansion of Medicaid. So, in fact, this was just partisan politics to use taxpayer dollars to fund abortion here in NH.
To add fuel to the fire, the Concord Feminist abortion clinic received funding under Hassan’s budget that had not received any state grants under Governor Lynch. The Concord Feminist abortion clinic used the state funding, not to provide medical care to people in need, but rather used this funding to pay the salary of a full time “Outreach Coordinator.” This “Outreach Coordinator” as detailed by the Concord Monitor, speaks in schools, holds candlelight vigils and holds signs outside the abortion clinic to protest those who object to using tax dollars to subsidize abortion clinics.
One can find many such examples of ill-advised funding throughout the Hassan budget. The above is but one example. But, wouldn’t it be better if the Department of Health and Human Services used our taxpayer funds to actually care for the people in our nursing homes rather than pay for people to hold signs outside abortion clinics or to hold candlelight vigils?
It seems our priorities are jumbled at best, these days. We, as taxpayers and citizens of NH, must DEMAND fair and responsible budgeting from those in Concord. We need to educate people and stand up to any budget or rhetoric which missuses our tax dollars or uses them inefficiently. Our seniors have earned the right to be a priority here in New Hampshire. We must be vocal and demand nothing less for those who are the most vulnerable in our society – whether in the nursing home OR in the womb. We should be caring for ALL life, in ALL its stages.