Editor's Note: The following editorial by News and Sentinel of Colebrook Publisher Karen Harrigan initially ran in that newspaper last week. It reflects, as only that hometown newspaper could, on the...
ROCHESTER— After visiting Frisbie Memorial Hospital, Scott Brown challenged Democrats Jeanne Shaheen, Joe Biden and Barak Obama to see the effects of their "broken promises."
Brown, a Republican who has expressed interest in the U.S. Senate seat held by Shaheen, toured the hospital Tuesday to hear how it has been affected by the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare.
Brown, a former Massachusetts senator, said he decided to visit after hearing how "Obamacare has been devastating to the hospital."
Al Felgar, Frisbie's president and chief executive officer, said the hospital cannot remain competitive in the limited health care network — established due to the ACA — even though "we keep our charges as low as we can."
Anthem's Pathway network, which covers those purchasing health insurance on the health care exchange, said it was trying to reduce premium costs when it did not include nine of the state's 26 hospitals.
Felgar, who has led the charge by hospitals left out of the Anthem network, said Frisbie has been negotiating with two other health care networks — Harvard and Minuteman — which will offer two new options for residents in 2015 and 2016. Minuteman was recently licensed by the state of New Hampshire.
"We will be in the Harvard network," Felgar said, adding they recently entered an agreement with the Massachusetts-based insurance company.
Felgar said Frisbie continues to negotiate with Minuteman, which is also based in Massachusetts.
"I'm looking for help," Felgar said, adding several other officials — including Republican Frank Guinta, who is seeking to return to the U.S. Congress, U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, and U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-NH, — have visited the hospital.
Although Shea-Porter is "a big supporter of the ACA," Felgar said she has been very supportive of Frisbie since she learned of the "gross deficiency" of its exclusion from Anthem's network.