Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Feltes stopped in Keene recently to visit a sober-living facility that relies on Medicaid reimbursements — something his campaign says could be threatened if President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee is confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
Trump announced Saturday that he is nominating conservative federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court. With the court scheduled to hear oral arguments in a challenge to the Affordable Care Act shortly after the presidential election, another conservative on the bench could spell the end of the law.
On Friday, Feltes, a Concord resident and the N.H. Senate majority leader, visited Live Free Recovery Services at 881 Marlboro St., according to a news release from his campaign. In the release, the campaign expressed concern that repeal of the Affordable Care Act would leave many Granite Staters without medical coverage.
“Donald Trump has threatened to terminate the Affordable Care Act which would kick an estimated 105,000 people in New Hampshire off their health care plans, and end protections for nearly 600,000 Granite Staters with pre-existing conditions,” the release says.
Justin Reynolds, director of residential services at Live Free Recovery, said losing the benefits they have under the Affordable Care Act would be “devastating” for New Hampshire residents with substance-use disorders.
Specifically, he mentioned Medicaid expansion, which broadened the program to include people who have either limited access to employer-provided health care or limited income to purchase it on the market.
“So many of the most vulnerable of the population rely on Medicaid to pay for their treatment services,” Reynolds said in a prepared statement. “No one should be denied treatment because they are unable to be insured. With Medicaid expansion, no one has to be turned away.”
Feltes intends to release a health-care plan soon calling for Medicaid expansion to be adopted permanently and for insurance providers that cover maternity services to be required to cover abortions, as well as promoting a student-loan forgiveness program for caregivers. The plan will also advocate for replacing Gov. Chris Sununu’s “Doorway” program with Feltes’ “Doorway to Recovery” program, establishing paid family and medical leave insurance and providing relief for seniors on the cost of prescription drugs.
In 2019, Feltes was the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 4, which codified certain elements of the Affordable Care Act in state law and was also a proponent of reauthorizing Medicaid expansion in 2016 and again in 2018. He has criticized Republicans at the federal and state levels for their opposition to the Affordable Care Act.
Reynolds said he appreciates the efforts of state leaders to preserve the programs that allow health-care providers to help those in need.
“I’m grateful to anyone in legislation including Senator Feltes who have fought to increase the rates which ensure that treatment options are available and continue to remain open to serve Granite Staters in need,” Reynolds said. “Permanent Medicaid expansion is literally a matter of life and death.”
Feltes will challenge Sununu for Concord’s corner office during the Nov. 3 general election. Sununu, a Newfields Republican, is seeking his third term. Also on the general election ballot is Darryl W. Perry of Manchester, a Libertarian.