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Gov. Chris Sununu (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER FILE)

Sununu 'not signing on' to GOP health care plan


CONCORD — The GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare is not sitting well with Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, who told reporters on Tuesday, “This is definitely not a bill I’m signing on to, for sure.”

Sununu was asked about the Congressional Budget Office analysis of the bill after a news conference at the State House on a new drug interdiction program.

“The bill that’s been proposed in Congress gives us concerns on a lot of different levels, to be very blunt about it,” he said.

Sununu said expanding Medicaid eligibility under Obamacare has been an important part of the state’s battle against opioid addiction, and that program should continue in some form.

“Expanded Medicaid is part of the discussion, there’s no doubt about that,” he said. “It has provided recovery and treatment options for folks who would not otherwise have those options available.”

Sununu said he had hoped for a plan that would rely heavily on adequately funded block grants that would give states the freedom to design health insurance programs for low-income families unique to each state’s needs and circumstances. That is not what he’s seeing in the GOP bill so far, he said.

“We are going to continue to work with the (Trump) administration and our congressional delegation and our partners in this to make sure that people understand, New Hampshire needs a health care program that allows us to be flexible and nimble,” he said. “Washington needs to provide the platform, but it will be up to the states to do the implementation.”

The Congressional Budget Office forecast on Monday that 14 million Americans would lose medical insurance by next year under the Republican plan to dismantle Obamacare.

The Trump administration defended the health care plan promoted by House Speaker Paul Ryan. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said the plan would cover more individuals at a lower cost and it was “virtually impossible” to envision that 14 million people would lose insurance coverage by next year.

dsolomon@unionleader.com

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