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Gubernatorial Candidates React to Health Care Ruling

Photo by Chickenlump, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire’s gubernatorial candidates are weighing in on the Supreme Court’s ruling, and they stand, pretty much, where you'd expect.

The two leading GOP contenders for the state’s corner office didn’t like the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court ruling, and that hasn’t really changed.

Ovide Lamontagne, the current front runner, says that as Governor, he would do everything possible to slow down or block the law’s implementation.

"All actions possible. I think this is exactly the wrong direction for New Hampshire to move into, and that is to simply roll over and acquiesce to the Federal government’s view of what’s good for us."

His primary opponent, Kevin Smith of Litchfield, is in agreement. He warns that the proposed Medicaid expansion would be bad economics for the state.

Smith also says the partisan divide on the health care law will present a clear choice for voters.

"There’s going to be a stark contrast between where the Democrats stand on this issue, and where the Republicans stand."

The Democrats in this race stand with the President, who calls the ruling a victory for all Americans. Former State Senator Maggie Hassan says the Legislature’s attempts to block a state-run health care exchange was a mistake. As Governor, she says she would seek more control of any health care marketplace.

"I think that it is really important that New Hampshire chart its own course in health care, and make sure that whatever we do in terms of health care policy, we look at how we can best serve the people of the Granite State."

Hassan’s Democratic rival Jackie Cilley applauds the Supreme Court’s decision, but thinks the ruling doesn’t go far enough. She says that by making Medicaid expansion voluntary, poor people could continue to slip through the cracks.

"My concern is that, with the striking down of that provision, they have allowed states to potentially, walk away from the most vulnerable."

In the next two-and-a-half months leading up to the state’s primary,  voters can expect to hear more--a lot more--from the candidates about the ruling.






Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University. He can be reached at tbookman@nhpr.org.
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