January 5, 2016

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Latest News, New Hampshire

Chris Sununu: Failure to Lead on NH Heroin Crisis

Chris Sununu: Failure to Lead on NH Heroin Crisis

Today, Republican presidential candidates Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie and John Kasich are in New Hampshire for a forum on addiction and the heroin epidemic plaguing the state. 

But where is GOP gubernatorial candidate Chris Sununu on combatting New Hampshire’s heroin crisis?

Sununu dropped the ball on critical funding for substance abuse. On the Executive Council, Sununu voted in July 2014 against bipartisan Medicaid expansion that has since covered substance abuse treatment for nearly 2,000 New Hampshire residents struggling with addiction.

“Chris Sununu has failed to lead on combatting the heroin crisis in New Hampshire,” said Democratic Governors Association Communications Director Jared Leopold. “On the Executive Council, Sununu voted against a bipartisan plan to increase coverage for thousands of New Hampshire citizens struggling with substance abuse. It’s time for Chris Sununu to stop playing political games and come up with real solutions for the issues facing New Hampshire families.”

BACKGROUND:

In July 2014, Sununu Voted Against Medicaid Expansion in New Hampshire. According to the Telegraph, “The state Executive Council has approved by a 3-2 vote a $292 million contract for two managed-care companies to offer services for those newly eligible for Medicaid under the New Hampshire Health Protection Program. […] Councilors Chris Sununu, R-Waterville Valley, and Joe Kenney, R-Wakefield, opposed the contract at the council’s meeting in Hanover.” [Telegraph, 7/17/14]

  • Between September 2014 and March 2015, Roughly 1,800 People Insured by Medicaid Expansion Accessed Substance Abuse Services. According to the Associated Press, “In the past, providers who helped low-income residents received aid through federal block grants at a rate of about $130 per patient per day. Medicaid expansion ups that to roughly $160 per day for in-patient residential treatment programs. New Hampshire’s Medicaid expansion plan covers screenings, counseling and a number of other treatment and recovery programs. Between September 2014 and March 2015, roughly 1,800 people insured by Medicaid expansion accessed substance abuse services.” [Associated Press, 9/23/15]
  • Union Leader: Those On the Front Lines Battling the Heroin Epidemic Say the Single Most Important Step is to Continue the Medicaid Expansion Program, Which Includes Substance Abuse Treatment. According to the Union Leader, “Those on the front lines battling the heroin epidemic say the single most important step is to continue the Medicaid expansion program, which includes substance abuse treatment and that will help expand the state’s treatment network, Hinkle said. GOP lawmakers have refused to reauthorize Medicaid expansion beyond Dec. 31, 2016, this year and say they will discuss the issue next session when there is more information to judge its effectiveness.” [Union Leader, 7/17/15]
  • In Addition to Increasing the Number of People with Health Insurance, the ACA for the First Time Made Coverage of Addiction Services and Other Behavioral Disorders Mandatory for All Insurers, Including Medicaid. According to Pew Charitable Trusts, “In addition to increasing the number of people with health insurance, the ACA for the first time made coverage of addiction services and other behavioral health disorders mandatory for all insurers, including Medicaid. As a result, the number of Medicaid enrollees receiving addiction services is expected to skyrocket over the next two years.” [Pew Charitable Trusts, 1/13/15]

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