On Thursday, Minuteman Health of Massachusetts announced that it would offer insurance on New Hampshire's health insurance exchange starting in 2015. The shrieks of delight from U.S. Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster were instantaneous.
Finally, news regarding Obamacare that they could put it in a press release! Here is what they said.
Kuster: "I'm pleased that beginning in 2015, Granite Staters will have an additional insurer competing for their business. Increasing competition in the health insurance market will help drive down costs and expand options for consumers in New Hampshire."
Shea-Porter: "I am pleased that New Hampshire families and individuals will have more choices for coverage, and I will continue working to increase competition and drive down health care costs."
Two things are immediately noticeable. One, they continue to speak through the words given them by their party masters. Two, since when has either of them been a vote for increasing competition in health care?
The last point goes double for Jeanne Shaheen, who said in her statement: "The full network of providers Minuteman intends to offer on the health insurance exchange is a welcome development that will give people in New Hampshire more choice when it comes to making important decisions about their health care."
Suddenly Kuster, Shea-Porter and Shaheen are waxing poetic about the benefits of competition and choice in the marketplace. But Shaheen and Shea-Porter are the ones who caused Granite Staters to lose their health insurance options! And Kuster supports the laws that continue to limit those choices.
Shaheen and Shea-Porter voted for Obamacare, whose minimum coverage mandates and "exchanges" were designed to limit insurance choices. The coverage mandate provisions are what triggered Anthem to cancel more than 22,000 insurance plans in New Hampshire. The burdensome regulations of the exchange are what limited exchange users to a single insurer (Anthem). These results were intentional, not accidental. Obamacare was designed to force people into very specific types of insurance coverage, whether they wanted that coverage or not.
Furthermore, Shaheen, as we have noted before, was the author of the 1994 bill that so heavily regulated New Hampshire insurers that more than 20 stopped offering coverage in the state.
The policies of Shaheen and Shea-Porter, supported by Kuster, directly caused the shrinking of New Hampshire's health insurance marketplace. They continue to support those policies. Their claim to favor competition and choice is a fiction.