GOP state senator rejects call to resign from NH Medicaid Expansion Commission
CONCORD -- New Hampshire Citizens Alliance has called for Republican state Sen. Andy Sanborn of Bedford to step down from the state Medicaid Expansion Study Commission after he compared "Obamacare" to the San Francisco plane crash that killed two and injured dozens of passengers.
Sanborn later apologized for the comment, which he made on Tuesday while guest hosting a show on radio station WTPL.
Sanborn said on the program that the Affordable Care Act is "barreling down on us like a jet landing in San Francisco. It's it should make people really concerned."
"It was my mistake," Sanborn later told television station WMUR. "If I offended anyone I am sorry."
He apologized again on Thursday, but refused to step down from the commission, calling the Citizens Alliance "a liberal front group."
Sanborn, a conservative, was appointed by Senate President Peter Bragdon to sit on the state commission set up as part of the new budget law to study whether the state should enter into Medicaid expansion under the ACA.
Kary Jencks, who heads the liberal Citizens Alliance group, said Sanborn "is not an appropriate legislator to serve on the Medicaid expansion study commission. In light of his recent statement, Senator Sanborn has proven he does not have the needed attitude or the desire to have a serious discussion on how and whether to expand health coverage to 58,000 hardworking, lower income Granite Staters.
"Study commission members are tasked with thoughtful, respectable dialogue on this issue, and it is clear that Senator Sanborn cannot live up to that responsibility," said Jencks. "Senator Sanborn should to resign or be removed from the commission."
Democratic Party spokesman Harrell Kirstein said the party agrees with the NHCA that Sanborn should step down or be removed.
Sanborn responded, "Like all people, I am sickened and sad to see innocent people hurt and some killed at the hands of those entrusted to keep us safe. For the liberal Democrats to twist my statements into yet another personal attack is nothing new."
Sanborn said he is "gravely concerned for the people of this great state and country with the implementation of Obamacare and how the exploding costs of premiums will leave even more people without affordable healthcare when they truly need it.
"If anyone mis-understood or was offended by that position, I apologize again."
Sanborn added, "This liberal front group is trying to force our state into an income tax. They understand that I am a strong voice in Concord for taxpayers, and that I will do everything in my power to stop their reckless spending increases and job killing tax hikes. I will continue to stand up for small businesses and won't be swayed by extremist organizations that are trying to destroy our New Hampshire Advantage."