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February 28. 2014 12:02PM

After voting for it in committee, Sen. Reagan says he opposes health care expansion compromise

DEERFIELD _ State Sen. John Reagan, R-Deerfield, said Thursday that when the compromise health insurance expansion bill goes to the Senate floor next Thursday, he will vote against it.

Reagan's announcement in an opinion piece he sent to UnionLeader.com on Thursday was unexpected because last week, when the bill was before the Senate Health, Education and Human Services Committee, he voted in the 4-1 majority recommending to the full Senate that the bill "ought to pass."

But in the opinion piece, Reagan wrote, "Supporting the payment for uncompensated care with money filtered through the federal government cannot have a positive outcome. There are no successful federal state partnerships costing less than each individual state's program for accomplishing the same outcome.

He added, "To force people to surrender tax dollars to fund the expenses of some other person is dishonest. To add the expensive federal 'Shipping and Handling' and expecting an unprecedented outcome is a foolhardy exercise in wishful thinking."

Reagan made the initial announcement of his opposition on Wednesday night at a meeting of the Greater Epping Republican Committee.

The Greater Epping committee went on to unanimously pass a resolution opposing the bill and "the expansion of Medicaid in any form," joining several other county, town and city Republican committees that have done so.

Reagan is in his first term in the Senate and has said he is considering a run for governor later this year. But if he chooses instead to run for another term in the Senate instead, he will face Republican primary opposition from Loudon farmer Howard Pearl, whom Reagan narrowly defeated in 2012.

Pearl last week cited the Senate health care expansion bill as a prime reason for his decision to run for a second time for the District 17 Senate seat held by Reagan.

The district includes Allenstown, Chichester, Epsom, Loudon, Pembroke, Pittsfield, Strafford, Deerfield, Northwood, Nottingham and Raymond.

Even with Reagan opposing it, Senate Bill 413 is expected to pass the state Senate on Thursday with all 11 Democrats and at least four -- and possibly several more -- Republicans on board.

Reagan, wrote that he voted in favor of "ought to pass" in the Senate committee because it is the committee's job "to hear bills and move them to the full chamber for a vote."

But he wrote he "was still not convinced there was no possible escape from the trap so cleverly set for the states by the Democrat Obama administration. My belief then and now is to discover a less ugly process to pay the health care bills of those unable to pay for their own health care."

He wrote that while he listens to fellow senators "in the normal course of legislative business" on issues, "Constituent input is another source of information used to formulate our positions and decisions as legislators.

"Some input is ranting, some raving, some misguided, some excellent and to the point of the issue. Many inputs, email, phone calls, letters, conversations call for helping the poor. Others want to reduce the expensive use of the emergency rooms. Many messages are altruistic, some bombastic. Some want nothing to do with another misguided promise from Washington, D.C."


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