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NH Governor’s Debate Draws Protests Over Medicare Issue

PHOTO: The gubernatorial race in New Hampshire heats up around Medicare issues.
PHOTO: The gubernatorial race in New Hampshire heats up around Medicare issues.
October 19, 2012

MANCHESTER, N. H. – Thursday's New Hampshire gubernatorial debate drew protests in Manchester as local seniors turned out to show their support for Medicare and to denounce proposals to shift that care to a block grant or voucher system.

Steve Morgan, a retired senior from Amherst, joined the protest. He believes Medicare offers the best health insurance program in the nation, and he is very concerned about Republican proposals that would shift care to block grants or a voucher system.

"I have choice of providers. I have choice of specialists. I don't have to go through a process. It gets paid for. I get reports. I can't believe that he thinks block granting to the state is going to improve that at all."

Democratic candidate Maggie Hassan is on record supporting Medicare in its current form, while her Republican opponent Ovide Lamontagne has stated that state management of Medicare would give the state more flexibility in how the program is structured, which he says would improve care.

Lamontagne has also expressed support for a voucher system, as is proposed in the plan offered by Congressman Paul Ryan, who is now the GOP vice presidential contender. Morgan believes those vouchers would be a big step in the wrong direction.

"The Ryan budget, what Ovide supports for block granting, would kill Medicare, which is the best-run insurance program - health insurance program - in the United States. I want my children to have exactly what I have, when they get to be this age."

Rep. Ryan has said his plan would not impact those who are already 55 and over. Morgan calls that small comfort and believes it would doom Medicare as we know it.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH