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Live Blog: Gov. Hassan On The Exchange

NHPR / Michael Brindley

9:56: Gov. Hassan on raising the gas tax: “We need a modern and solid infrastructure if we’re going to have a 21st century economy.” There has been growing consensus that we need to address infrastructure challenges. On bill proposing gas tax increase tied to CPI: “In its current form, yes, I would sign it.”

9:52: Gov. Hassan on minimum wage: “Feel very strongly” it is the right thing to do to increase it. 

9:51: Gov. Hassan on minimum wage increase: “What we know is hard working Granite Staters should be able to support themselves and their families.” Businesses should work with lawmakers to find the right amount; won’t commit to support for specific increase to minimum wage.

9:50: Gov. Hassan says as frustrating as ACA rollout has been, “it’s getting better.” For first time, people with preexisting conditions get coverage. “We all need to come together and make this better.” It’s better to have a system where people can get health care and not keep cost-shifting in place.

9:47: Gov. Hassan responds to concern from business owner about narrow network and Medicaid expansion: “The rollout of the Affordable Care Act was unacceptable.” Last Legislature wouldn’t let state set up own exchange and “we’ve been playing catch up ever since.” New Hampshire will get two additional carriers coming onto exchange next year. “We do know if we left those 50,000 people uninsured…that cost gets shifted onto your private insurance.” We pay for it somewhere.

9:44: Gov. Hassan says mental health settlement will cost state $6 million in the current fiscal year; Medicaid expansion will allow state to treat people with mental illness.

9:43: Gov. Hassan on mental health care in New Hampshire: “We’ll invest $24 million new dollars in community based mental health services.” We have people waiting in emergency room hospitals waiting for acute care. “The development of those community based services is in the works.” The state’s mental health settlement was important because it allows us to build out more services in a way that makes sense. The settlement “was an important and good thing to do.” We’ve opened up some new long-term beds at New Hampshire Hospital. “At the end of the day…these people need providers that can provide them the right treatment in the right place at the right time.”

9:36: Gov. Hassan on comparing marijuana legalization to casino gambling: “I think it is a false choice. Gambling is legal under federal and state law. We have a significant substance abuse problem here in New Hampshire. Our young people have some of the highest rates of marijuana use.” Says legalization will increase use among young people. “I’m focusing on treatment.” Willing to look at criminal code to redirect focus on treatment first; not appropriate for young person to be jailed for first offense.

9:34: Gov. Hassan on question from listener concerned about a casino’s impact on local businesses: “The concern misses the point that there are going to be casinos right over our border.” I think it’s important not to look at this in a vacuum. We need to establish rules that protect some of the already-existing venues in the state. “It also goes to the fact that it’s really important that we do this in a community that wants it and puts it to a vote.”

9:33: Gov. Hassan says it’s important to make sure peoples’ voices are heard in energy discussions. “It’s making sure we have a process that allows us to balance those concerns and make our way through that.”

9:31: Gov. Hassan on maintaining views with wind turbines, electric transmission lines: “We need to balance concerns.” It’s important for people to engage in state’s energy council. “We obviously need to get power to the state.” 

9:29: Gov. Hassan on alternative energy: “We need to look at a statewide energy policy.” What kind of alternative supply do we want to have? How do we get the kind of diversity that we need? One of the reasons costs are so high is because we’re at the end of the gas pipeline; we need to bring gas line capacity to the region. 

9:26: Gov. Hassan on casino revenue: “I don’t support more than one casino for a number of reasons.” There’s also been in Maine the revenues have been much more than expected. “The estimates indicate we could successfully capture the revenue that would otherwise to go other casinos.” Hoping that lawmakers with concerns about lack of regulation will look closely at Rep. Ames’ bill.

On “high-end, highly-regulated” casino: “It means you’re trying to attract people who have the means to spend time there.” “I have visited a casino or two.” I did not gamble, but did observe.

9:23: Gov. Hassan on casinos from a financial point of view: “We’ve had very conservative revenue estimates from it.” There are excellent examples of casinos that have brought in revenue; makes more sense to recognize activity that already exists and keep the revenue in New Hampshire. “We really do need to think about what’s happening around us.” 

9:21: Gov. Hassan responding to question about issues around gambling addiction from casino: “I don’t agree with the analysis. The thing opponents are missing is we are going to have casinos right over our border.” People already go to casinos in Connecticut and Maine.” New Hampshire would get all the problems, but none of the revenue to deal with those issues. “Would rather regulate a casino in our state that maintains family-friendly brand,” but also helps the economy.” State will lose $75 million annually to Massachusetts. “Doing one in a community that wants it makes a lot of sense.”

9:17: Gov. Hassan responds to caller question about concerns about the Medicaid managed care program: “Clearly, some of things that have been happening are unacceptable.” Says there is work on a report on the status of the program to work on issues raised at a hearing last week.

9:12: On Medicaid expansion deal: “This framework…is to say that we’ll be able to use that federal money to eventually help that group of 50,000 people purchase private insurance so that it’s premium insurance for them, rather than just put them into the Medicaid program.” Says it would have “perhaps” been easier to simply expand Medicaid program as originally envisioned. “There are some good arguments” for doing it the way it was agreed upon. "We have been challenged" by a lack of competition on our health care exchange; this may address that.

9:10: On accusations of being too political: “I focus every day on what it is we need to do to move forward.” There are honest disagreements on how to do that; deal on Medicaid expansion is an example of what can be done when lawmakers work together.

9:08: Gov. Hassan on her first year: “It’s just the greatest job in the world…the people of our state are extraordinary.” Says the state has reinvested in critical priorities. “We’ve got some challenges.” It’s about the ability to meet those challenges. That will be the test this year.

8:51: We'll be live blogging Gov. Maggie Hassan's appearance on The Exchange this morning. You'll find updates on the discussion as soon as it starts at 9 a.m.

You can call in with a question at (800) 892-6477, or send an email to exchange@nhpr.org.

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