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August 21. 2014 6:02PM

Scott Brown warns seniors of Obamacare Medicare cuts


Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown, left, listens to a guest at a forum Thursday in Manchester dealing with Obamacare and Medicare while Barry Devine, right, and Michael McLeod look on. (Mark Hayward/Union Leader)

MANCHESTER — Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown on Thursday touted his votes for Romneycare, the Massachusetts health care plan adopted under former Gov. Mitt Romney, at a forum held to criticize Obamacare.

In remarks to about 10 seniors, Brown said he shouldn’t be speaking about what he did as a state senator in Massachusetts, but the Massachusetts health plan he voted for in 2006 addressed problems with the uninsured.

“We addressed pre-existing conditions. We addressed catastrophic care,” Brown said.

The Republican has promised to vote to repeal Obamacare if elected to the U.S. Senate; he repeated that promise Thursday at a forum at the William B. Cashin Senior Activity Center.

The Romney plan — a personal mandate, an insurance exchange and employer-provided care — is similar enough to the Obama plan that the President has acknowledged the similarities.

The Brown campaign said the Romney plan won’t work everywhere.

“(Brown’s) position is full repeal of Obamacare, and have a discussion on the state level on a plan that works for New Hampshire,” said Brown campaign spokesman Elizabeth Guyton. “A plan that works in Massachusetts isn’t necessarily going to work in New Hampshire.”

The campaign said Obamacare will hurt seniors on Medicare because of cuts to Medicare Advantage. Otherwise knows as Medicare Part C, the program is a managed-care plan that about 15,000 Granite Staters participate in, according to the Brown campaign.

The campaign said Obamacare looks to cut nearly $716 billion from the program. Democratic incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has three times opposed legislation that would have protected Medicare Advantage, according to the campaign.

Democrats on Thursday said Obamacare closes the Medicare Part D prescription drug doughnut hole; Brown’s plan to repeal Obamacare could jeopardize $40 million in overall drug savings for seniors.

“This much is clear: Scott Brown would force New Hampshire seniors to pay more so the big insurance and pharmaceutical companies could increase profits,” New Hampshire Democratic Party spokesman Julie McClain said. During a half-hour discussion Thursday, Brown asked seniors their thoughts on Obamacare and he asked if any had received notice that their plans were changing.

Londonderry resident Joseph Yablonski said the insurance for his wife and daughter dropped from $1,100 a month to $156 a month once they enrolled in Obamacare. But the longtime family doctor, Alphonse Baluta, is not part of Anthem’s Pathway, the single network in New Hampshire that offers plans under Obamacare.

“I’m paying less, absolutely,” Yablonski said. “It’s not the question of paying less. Am I going to get the level of care I did before?”

mhayward@unionleader.com


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