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May 05. 2014 5:30PM

Is Maggie missing? Our passive governor

If New Hampshire could pay its bills with empty rhetoric, Maggie Hassan would be a great governor.

In early April a judge ruled the state’s Medicaid enhancement tax unconstitutional. The ruling blew a hole in the state budget that could be as large as $400 million. Hassan immediately issued a statement that blamed last session’s Republican Legislature (fair enough) but said nothing about the way forward.

“Today’s ruling on the MET presents additional budget and healthcare challenges,” Hassan said. “My office has been in discussions about MET issues with relevant stakeholders due to previous court rulings, and I will continue working closely with hospitals, providers, legislators and state officials to resolve these challenges in a way that is fair to all parties, protects the state’s budget and ensures the health and well-being of Granite Staters.”

When Standard & Poors downgraded New Hampshire’s debt outlook two weeks ago, Hassan issued this statement: “The Standard and Poor’s announcement reinforces the need for hospitals, providers, legislators and state officials to quickly work together to address the budget and healthcare challenges posed by the Medicaid Enhancement Tax ruling.”

Last week Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, outlined a plan for changing the Medicaid enhancement tax so that it survives constitutional scrutiny. Gov. Hassan’s office responded by stating that she looked forward to hearing more from Sen. Morse and that she “continues to believe that by working with all stakeholders, we can resolve these challenges in a responsible way that is fair to all parties and that protects the state’s budget and the health of Granite Staters.”

It has been nearly a month since the MET court ruling, and Hassan is still waiting for others to act. She has shown not the slightest hint of leadership. As usual, she is letting Sen. Morse lead while she pretends to be immersed in deep thought. Maybe she installed a think tank in the corner office and got stuck in it. Someone should go check. Someone other than Sen. Morse, though. He’s too busy governing.


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