"Big money in NH's U.S. Senate race"
By JOHN DISTASO, Senior Political Reporter, NH Union Leader, April 10, 2008
Former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen says her campaign for the U.S. Senate raised nearly $1.2 million in the first quarter of this year and has nearly $2 million on hand.
Through the end of 2007, Shaheen, a Democrat who announced her candidacy last September, had raised a total of $1.36 million.
Her campaign said in a statement today that between Jan. 1 and March 31, she received donations from nearly 6,500 donors, including 4,000 first-time donors.
Shaheen is running against incumbent Republican Sen. John Sununu in a re-match of their 2002 campaign. Sununu has not yet released his quarterly fund-raising figures, but through the end of 2007, his campaign had $3.4 million on hand.
Six years ago, at the comparable stage of Shaheen's first run for the office, she had raised nearly $685,000 compared with incumbent U.S. Sen. Bob Smith's $482,000 and had spent $242,000 compared with Smith's $380,000. She had close to $1.4 million in cash on hand at the end of the first quarter of 2002 compared with Smith's $1.5 million. The other Republican Senate hopeful in 2002, then-U.S. Rep. Sununu, had raised $163,000 and spent $213,000 in the quarter. He had $661,000 in cash on hand.
State House Dome: "Shaheen and Sununu spend big on ads", By TOM FAHEY, State House Bureau Chief, NH Union Leader, Sunday, Sep. 14, 2008
CANDIDATES and political action groups have put up more than $11 million for political ads on WMUR this election season. And counting.
The latest tally of political spending at the state's largest commercial television station shows the biggest bucks -- more than $5.4 million -- going to the U.S. Senate race between Republican U.S. Sen. John Sununu and Democratic former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen.
The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee and National Republican Senate Committee have spent $4.5 million for a combined 1,456 slots over the next seven weeks.
The Shaheen and Sununu campaigns are spending their own money, too. Shaheen has put down $644,669 for political ads and Sununu has bought $156,580, so far.
If no one buys another ad, WMUR will have shown more than 6,800 political ads for all races between Aug. 12 and Election Day on Nov. 4.
But don't stop counting. Neither John McCain nor Barack Obama have reserved a single spot beyond Sept. 22. And you know that's going to change.
Among Congressional candidates, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee bought $1,146,250 in air time. Add that to totals for U.S. Rep Carol Shea Porter, who's spent $211,000, and U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes, who so far has spent $119,880.
Republicans to date are slow off the mark. There's no reported spending by the Republicans' national office, although the Shea Porter-Jeb Bradley match-up is considered a targeted race.
In his winning primary campaign, Bradley spent $111,795 on WMUR ads. John Stephen spent $105,082. Sounds even, but Bradley outspent Stephen more than 2-to-1 in the week leading up to the primary, dropping $65,000 in the seven-day stretch.
In the biggest state office contest, Gov. John Lynch has reserved $310,000 worth of time compared to Republican state Sen. Joe Kenney's $7,575.
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BRADLEY DIALS AG: Alicia Preston, campaign spokesman for Bradley, said his complaint about a version of phone jamming remains in effect.
Bradley's camp asked Attorney General Kelly Ayotte to investigate a Monday evening incident in which hang-up calls went out to voters. Caller ID devices read out the Jeb Bradley for Congress campaign, even though Bradley's folks knew nothing of it. Then complaints started flooding Bradley's office, tying up phone lines workers were using a get-out-the vote effort. They had to shut down phones for two hours, and determined the problem was not on their end, Preston said.
"We don't know who did it, we made no accusation about who did it, and we don't know exactly what happened,"she said.
Deputy Attorney General Bud Fitch said he is not aware of any similar complaints this year.
"The good news is that these stories are few and far between,"he said. "We're nonetheless looking into it, trying to determine the facts first, and then see if there is anything we can take action against."
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MAC-MAE MILLIONS: Hodes is questioning how billions in taxpayer money can be sunk into Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae mortgage bailouts, while executives of the two public-private mortgage lenders get healthy severance packages.
CEOs of the two companies will get packages worth about $15 million each.
"If these companies were in such serious financial difficulty that they needed help to carry out their mission, they certainly don't have money to spare on golden parachutes. Nobody should be getting rich off taxpayer dollars,"Hodes wrote Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.
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$90,000 PARACHUTE: In New Hampshire's own little severance pay dustup, Sen. Ted Gatsas was subdued at a Fiscal Committee meeting last week, choosing not to challenge the $90,000 severance package to which outgoing New Hampshire Retirement System executive director Constance Donovan is entitled.
Gatsas asked for a copy of her contract, which states clearly she gets six months pay if she gives 90 days notice before leaving her post, not to mention health insurance.
Donovan had only been on the job three months in July when the BTR Solutions consulting group from York Beach, Maine, delivered its workplace assessment to NHRS. In-house communications were the big issue. BTR said that workers consistently described communication after management meetings as "like the old party comedy game where players whisper a message around a circle."
"Gossip appears to have become a more trusted communication of information," BTR wrote.
Morale wasn't so hot, either. On a scale of 1 to 5, supervisors rated the level of respect in the organization at a 3; employees gave it a 2.6. Supervisors rated the level of trust at a 2.3, and other employees gave it a 2.1.
BTR said the feelings and problems aren't a total surprise for an organization that has seen two executive directors and three board chairs in the course of only a few years.
"NHRS employees "have not had a consistent leadership role model for too long. Bad habits develop in such an environment,"the consultants wrote.
A separate audit report by KPMG found that NHRS lacks clearly documented computer systems policies, resulting in an environment where governance is difficult and proper control procedures are either not implemented or not being effectively followed.
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FIGHTING CONGRESS: New Hampshire came close to major delays on key projects in congressional wrangling over the federal highway bill. Sen. Judd Gregg was a leader in the fight against adding $8 billion to the bill that sends funding to each state, but he relented last week. Passage avoided the cut of $52 million and the loss of up to 1,800 construction-related jobs here.
Transportation Commissioner George Campbell prepared a list of endangered work for Gov. Lynch and the Executive Council. It included a one-year hold on a $22 million contract for the rusting Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth and delays on $17 million in work on I-93 at Exit 3, $4.5 million on the Manchester Airport access road and $9 million on Route 12A reconstruction in Lebanon.
Campbell noted that the state saved $5 million on the I-93 work in question, because contractors bid the job for less than what the state expected. A delay might have seen that saving lost in a new round of bidding, he said.
Executive Councilor Ray Burton criticized fellow-Republican Gregg in a statement. "New Hampshire had to fight against its own U.S. senator to ensure that Congress kept its promise."
He praised Lynch, Hodes, House Public Works and Highways chair Rep. Candace Bouchard, all Democrats, and Sen. Bob Letourneau for their work to advance the bill.
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BUILDING WAR CHEST: The state GOP announced last week it has formed a new finance committee to raise funds for Republican contests.
Party chair Fergus Cullen said: "State party finances are stronger today than they've been at any time since the 2004 election, and this talented and connected group will ensure we have the resources we need to help our candidates win elections." Through Sept. 3, the GOP raised $152,746 this year, and has $25,109 left. Two years ago, it raised $128,451 for primaries and spent all but $10,563, its public filings show. Democrats, by contrast, reported raising $844,598 and spent all but $85,243, filings show.
The committee will be chaired by Jim Merrill of Manchester, and will include 32 other business and party leaders. Better-known names include Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta, Susan Duprey, Karl Norwood, Doug Scamman, John Lyons, Mike Dennehy, Chuck Morse and Siobhan Tautkus.
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NYC MAYOR RETURNS: Rudy Giuliani is coming back to New Hampshire on Sept. 29 for a fundraiser Executive Councilor Ray Wieczorek is holding. The former New York City mayor is helping the former Manchester mayor raise some serious bucks. Tickets are $100 each for dinner, and $250 each for a special VIP reception.
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FRANK SPEAKS: Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank will be the featured speaker at the Democratic Party's annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner Oct. 18 in Manchester. Former keynotes have included former Vice President Al Gore, Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Evan Bayh.
The dinner has been a sellout for the last five years.
Tom Fahey is the State House bureau chief for New Hampshire Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News.
If Ted Kennedy resigns expect Joseph Kennedy the former Massachusetts Congressman to be appointed to his seat.
If Teddy serves until the end of his term and then retires Joseph Kennedy will likely seek the seat then.
Governor Deval Patrick would very much like to appoint himself to the seat, but he would likely be pressured into choosing Kennedy to replace his uncle.
- Travis Liles, Manchester
Enjoy your time in Washington, it is coming to an end in 2010.
You're a disgrace to the state of New Hampshire. You're there to look out for the interests of New Hampshire, not fight against us getting needed highway funds that we usually get screwed out of.
- Travis Liles, Manchester
What this state needs is not another six years of Sununu's ineptitude. We need six years of Shaheen working with the Democratic majority to address the needs of NH's residents. NH will benefit greatly from the coming Democratic administration and Congress!
- Frank Smith, Manchester
I am absolutely disgusted at the Shaheen ads lies and distortions.
They claim that Sununu doesn't want "oil assistance" just for refusing aid from the bloody dictator Chavez in Venezuela, which was politically wise.
They claim many other things about him, all of which are shameless lies.
Shame on Shaheen. It's disgusting, but then, that's how Democrats operate. If you can't find a fact, make up one.
- Jason Entres, Hollis
God willing it could happen.
Adding to this mix is third party candidate Libertarian Ken Blevens. Question abound will Libertarian Blevens be to down fall of incumbent Sununu in a close election? Maybe because of Hillary’s loss will it effect Shaheen if Democrats decide they can’t support the ticket and vote Libertarian? Or maybe because of all the money being wasted on mudslinging the voters from both parties will be so sick of both major candidates they may vote for a Libertarian? Get real change by voting for Ken Blevens the Libertarian Candidate for U.S. Senate
- Libertarian Ken Blevens, Bow
You mention that Congressman Barney Frank will speak at the J-J Dinner in October.
I predict he will be appointed to take Ted Kennedy's place in the US Senate.
If you thought that Kennedy was liberal, wait until you see Barney Frank. I went to colege with him, and he has not changed one single bit since then.
(His district includes Beacon Hill itself, incidentally. Maybe that says it all)
- Larry Gillis, Cape Coral FL
June 25, 2008
They're Up on the Air with the Greatest of Sleaze
Americans for Job Security (AJS) -- the sham big-business front group that Public Citizen calls "Corporations Influencing Elections" -- has begun a radio campaign against Jeanne Shaheen, who's challenging New Hampshire Sen. John Sununu. AJS, which has in past elections spent hundreds of thousands attacking Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Maria Cantwell, has said the spot is part of a "statewide saturation buy" and will continue for "the next several weeks."
Not to be outdone by his right-wing big-business allies, Sen. Sununu appeared with President Bush at a Washington, D.C., fundraiser that is expected to raise nearly $20 million for GOP House and Senate candidates.
Breaking News: Shaheen, who will not let a single attack go unanswered, just went on the air with a hard-charging response. Her ad cites Sununu's votes to protect conservative special interests like Big Oil and Shaheen's own record on cutting spending and balancing the state budget, as well as her plans to help middle-class families when elected.
Just a Preview of Coming Attack-tions
Americans for Job Security’s gigantic radio buy is only a preview of the right-wing third-party attacks that will flood the airwaves in the coming months. It's also a reminder that our WOMEN VOTE! program is more critical than ever to progressive Democrats up and down the ticket.
New Hampshire Senate Race
"Shaheen, Sununu trade jabs on energy policy"
The Associated Press, Thursday, June 26, 2008
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire's U.S. Senate candidates debated speculation and exploration this week as each offered solutions to the nation's energy crisis.
Republican Sen. John Sununu called for a balanced approach focused on conservation, investment in alternative energy sources and expansion of domestic oil production.
"If you want to be realistic, if you want to be effective, if you want to show leadership on improving our energy independence, you have to allow additional domestic production," he said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters. "How can we expect to reduce our dependence on Mideast oil if we refuse to allow additional exploration at home?"
Sununu supports Sen. John McCain's proposal to lift a 27-year-old moratorium on offshore drilling, though doing so wouldn't have an immediate effect on gas prices. He said it's naive to believe there are quick fixes to the problem.
"This will not happen overnight, and it's naive for politicians to speak as if things will change overnight," he said. "It takes time to build and develop a wind farm. It takes time to make an investment in a biomass facility. But there's no reason we shouldn't start with this thoughtful, balanced approach."
Shaheen also supports investments in alternative energy sources such as wood and wind. But she argues that gas prices would drop immediately if Congress cracked down on oil market speculation.
She has started an online petition urging Sununu to stop hedge funds and other large investors from speculating in energy futures markets without government oversight.
"Right now, the needs of billion-dollar hedge funds are being put ahead of the needs of middle class families. Billion-dollar traders are able to run up enormous profits and drive up the cost of oil in the process — with almost no oversight. That has to change," she said yesterday after meeting with volunteers collecting petition signatures.
Shaheen also proposes closing a loophole that allows nominally foreign exchanges to trade U.S. oil contracts without any American regulation; demanding that refiners increase their production of oil; releasing 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve; and pressuring OPEC to increase production.
Sununu said he supports greater transparency when it comes to oil market speculation, along with ensuring that the Commodities Futures Trading Commission has the funding it needs to prosecute manipulators.
RealClearPolitics: Politics Nation Blog
By Reid Wilson (AIM: PoliticsNation)
August 26, 2008
NH: Shaheen +11
Former Democratic New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen is at the top of Democrats' list of Senate takeover opportunities, but the newest poll out of the Granite State will do something to aleviate Republican heartburn. Still, Shaheen, the poll shows, is maintaining her big lead in her repeat race against Republican Senator John Sununu, and Democratic Governor John Lynch is cruising toward a third term.
The poll, conducted by American Research Group, a Republican firm, surveyed 600 likely voters between 8/18-20 for a margin of error of +/- 4%. Sununu and Shaheen were tested, along with Lynch and his Republican opponent, State Senator Joe Kenney.
General Election Matchup
(All / Dem / GOP / Ind)
Shaheen......52 / 87 / 10 / 61 (-6 from last, 7/21)
Sununu.......41 / 7 / 81 / 33 (+5)
Lynch........58 / 91 / 28 / 58 (-2)
Kenney.......32 / 5 / 64 / 26 (+5)
In a state full of independent voters, Shaheen maintains her huge lead among those not affiliated with either party. But Sununu has cut Shaheen's twenty-two point lead from late July. That July poll may have been an outlier, though, as it showed the largest lead for Shaheen since a poll from June 2007. More recent polls have showed the Democrat with a low-double figure lead.
One major factor continues to be Sununu's lack of significant advertising. It's not because of a shortage of funds; the first-term Republican has plenty of money in the bank, suggesting he is saving his warchest for a major post-Labor Day push.
Lynch, meanwhile, has proven a popular governor during his first two two-year terms. Republican efforts to recruit stronger candidates, including Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta, were unsuccessful.
"Senate race redux: Primary vote sets up rematch from 2002"
The Associated Press, Wednesday, September 10, 2008
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Republican Sen. John Sununu and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen dove back into their rematch yesterday, coming up for air just long enough to defeat little-known challengers in their respective primaries.
Lopsided early returns showed Sununu defeating former state Rep. Tom Alciere, a circuit board inspector from Hudson, and Shaheen beating Ray Stebbins, a Massachusetts lawyer who moved to Nashua four months ago. Libertarian Ken Blevens of Bow also will be on the November ballot.
Sununu and Shaheen had focused on each other from the beginning and kept at it yesterday.
"If folks want to continue the status quo, then they want to support John Sununu, because he has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time," Shaheen said in a phone interview. "He has supported the policies that have gotten us to where we are today."
'Washington is broken'
Sununu stood by his record.
"Everyone understands that Washington is broken, but even in that environment, I've been able to write and pass legislation that's important to New Hampshire," he said, also by phone.
Sununu, then a congressman, beat Shaheen, then the governor, by 4 percentage points in 2002. But Sununu now is considered one of the nation's most vulnerable Senate incumbents, in large part because the state has shifted hard toward Democrats in recent years. Shaheen hopes to capitalize on that by linking Sununu to the unpopular president.
She said the November election represents a choice between a "new direction" or sticking with policies that have led to rising gas and food prices, falling home prices and an economy that has left middle class families behind.
Sununu said he has bucked Bush and his party when necessary, including by crafting the compromise to allow the renewal of the Patriot Act after he raised concerns about civil liberties. And he points to legislation that bans Internet access taxes and protects New Hampshire's White Mountain National Forest as proof of his "determination to vote with New Hampshire 100 percent of the time."
Jerry Boucher, a 58-year-old software engineer from Manchester, agreed.
"I think he is kind of independent, votes his mind and is energetic," Boucher said.
National Democrats made Sununu a top target early on, most recently airing a commercial featuring pictures of him alongside Bush. The National Republican Senatorial Committee, meanwhile, produced a spot saying Shaheen would "fit right in" in "big-spending Washington."
Jeanne Shaheen: "We need new vision for U.S. economy"
By JEANNE SHAHEEN, Op-Ed, NH Union Leader, 9/16/2008
With the party primaries behind us and Election Day just around the corner, I am hearing more and more urgently from voters across New Hampshire that we need a new economic direction in this country.
Middle-class families and small businesses are struggling, and recently we received more discouraging news -- unemployment has jumped to 6.1 percent, the highest it has been in five years. The United States has lost roughly 600,000 jobs since January. Wages are stagnant. This economy isn't working for middle-class families.
We need a new economic direction, one where working families' interests -- not the special interests -- come first.
I have no doubt that Americans can rise to meet this challenge, as we always have in the past. We are a nation that tackles challenges head on. But to do that will take a new direction, and that means we need a new senator.
Our current senator -- John Sununu -- votes with George Bush 90 percent of the time, and New Hampshire families pay 100 percent of the consequences. One of the biggest broken promises of the Bush-Sununu era has been the reckless, irresponsible spending that has doubled our national debt to more than $9 trillion and exploded the deficit. Today, the average New Hampshire family owes $86,288.59 toward the debt increase of the Bush-Sununu years.
In the Senate, I will demand real accountability and a return to balanced budgets through pay-as-you-go budgeting. I will fight to put an end to the no-bid contracts that shower billions of dollars on companies that fail to perform. And I will work to ensure the Iraqis pay their own bills with the billions they earn in oil revenue rather than relying on billions of our taxpayer dollars.
Even as we pay $10 billion a year on Iraqi reconstruction, Iraq holds $80 billion in oil revenues. That makes no sense. Meanwhile, the increased price of oil is putting an overwhelming financial strain on families here at home.
We need a Manhattan-style project that brings together the public and private sectors to move us toward energy independence and addresses both the short-term high prices and our long-term energy needs.
In the short term, we can bring some relief at the gas pump by cracking down on the reckless speculation by billion dollar hedge funds and Wall Street traders that is driving up the cost of oil. And we should increase domestic oil production in a way that benefits American families and small businesses. We should drill on the 68 million acres that the oil companies already lease but don't drill. Seventy-nine percent of offshore reserves are already open to drilling.
But drilling alone won't solve our problems. In the long term, the answer is to end the massive, needless subsidies to big oil companies and instead make a serious commitment to energy efficiency and clean, alternative energy.
In the Senate, I will fight to end the billions in tax breaks to Big Oil and use that money to make an unwavering commitment to the development of alternative and renewable energy sources. New energy investment will not only end our dependence on foreign oil, but it will create 21st century jobs that will help us continue to be a leader in the global economy. I want those jobs here in the United States and here in New Hampshire.
Among all the economic concerns I hear from voters in our state, second only to energy costs are health-care costs. But if we are willing to stand up to the insurance companies and drug companies, we can ease health care costs. It's something I did as governor, when I stood up to HMOs to prevent them from denying New Hampshire families the medical care they need, and it's something I'm not afraid to do in the Senate.
In 2006, during a discussion about health care, John Sununu told a group of small business owners to "stop complaining about health-care costs." That's not the kind of leadership that New Hampshire needs.
Finally, to keep our work force competitive in the global economy, we must help open the door to college for more middle-class families by increasing student loan opportunities, expanding Pell Grants and providing loan forgiveness for students who dedicate themselves to national service.
When I was governor, I worked hard to strengthen our economy, and during those years more than 66,000 new jobs were created in New Hampshire. My economic agenda put the needs of families and small businesses first -- while keeping New Hampshire's tax burden the lowest in the nation. I will take that kind of common sense leadership to Washington.
The stakes this November could not be higher. In just under two months, we have the opportunity to set an entirely new economic course, one that recognizes that small businesses and working families are the backbone of this economy.
But if we want a new direction, we need a new senator. I hope you'll come out on Nov. 4 and cast your vote for change.
Former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, is running for the U.S. Senate.
jeanne talk,s about john sununu voting with george bush 90% of the time but as i am reading her opinion she sound,s a lot like barack obama. at least sununu would represent new hampshire,s value,s not hollywood,s at least john sununu would be for the middle class jeanne shaheen would hurt the middle class
- kevin dumont, nashua nh
Well said, Steve. It's time America started taking pride in itself again and BUILDING, not just BUYING! Now if we can only convince the moonbats to stay out of our government and our lives!
- sheana, chester
I could not agree more with David Gereau, there is something desperate about the way the dems are trying to take offices all across the country. NH is different, hopefully voters send Sheehen that message.
As for her energy policy...well it only took her 2o years to figure out what John Sununu has no since day one!
- Cindy Teague, Concord
"Elect Me!" or "Re-elect-Me!" ads criticizing your opponent's previous stance on issues are always misleading, because of what they "leave out".
For example, a vote against "Plan A" could have been because "Plan B", which then passed, was an improvement over "Plan A", like "So-and-so voted against setting aside $400,000 for emergency energy assistance for the elderly but then voted for $900,000".
It happens all the time.
- Guy Plante, Manchester
Steve, you have the appropriate vision for the U.S. economy. Mrs. Shaheen does not. We must scale back on our cheap consumer goods mindset and return to an economy that does not favor multinational corporations over the American worker. International free trade deteriorates middle and low wage incomes while opening up the greatest market on earth to unfair competition as foreign corporations (or U.S. corporations with manufacturing facilities in other nations) are able to undercut U.S. manufacturers with minimal labor costs and reduced environmental and health restrictions. Without a system of protective tariffs, U.S. manufacturers have no choice but to outsource American jobs to compete with otherwise unattainable prices or to shut down entirely. Without protective tariffs, we face the elimination of decent wages for low or medium skilled Middle America. We are not at a point to rely on the technology sector to replace these positions and it is unlikely that the United States will be able to stay on top of this new base for long. Most middle and low income Americans will never be assimilated into this new job market and will be left to fend in a low wage service economy. If we do not stem international free trade, wages for the greatest percentage of Americans will fall while the rest of the world whose business practices undercut fair and decent U.S. standards assail our marketplace. We have the greatest consumer market on earth and we are wasting its potential for the quick profit of a few. Free trade is meant for small nations. Free trade is not meant to eliminate the hard work that our predecessors worked so hard to build. We must return to the principles of market protection and to protect the American worker. Unfortunately both Republican and Democratic national candidates have little interest in rebuilding middle class America or reducing low income America.
- Jonathan Teeling, Manchester, NH
Shaheen specializes in vague imagery and creation of straw man villains.
Even as she lambastes the wicked speculators for the runup in oil, the price is dropping like a stone. She means the futures markets, which trade oil and many other commodities, and ensure that there are not shortages. She has no answers, except to demand that oil companies drill on their existing land leases, which are not where the proven reserves are.
Taking away subsidies to oil companies would decrease prices exactly how?? And why does no one mention the huge subsidies to the agribusiness and the corn ethanol industry? Could it be that Obama is from a big agri-state, Illionois, and has huge support in neighboring Iowa?
Could it be that McCain, who has long opposed agricultural subsidies decided not to even campaign in Iowa caucuses because of his public oppositon to these subsidies?
Vague imagery doesn't substitute for concrete plans. McCain has a real energy plan, and Sununu does too.
This 90% voted with Bush punchline means absolutely nothing -- pure imagery.
- Ditmar Kopf, Hollis
Jeanne Shaheen would be a new direction alright--a course further away from personal and national prosperity.
Why in the world would I want the same woman who gave us the statewide property tax and who doubled state spending to take a seat on Capitol Hill?
- William Smith, Merrimack, NH
Gov. Sheehan seems more and more like the Washington democrats and not a politian from NH. She has adopted Obama's "90 percent of the time with President Bush" mantra. That is nice for the national stage, but here in NH, we expect to be talked to about NH - what is in our best interest and what is not.
Frankly, Sheehan's tone and down right nasty TV ads has been unexceptable to me, so this is one democrat who will vote Rebublican. There is something dreadfully wrong with my party these days - a tone and nastiness I never thought I would witness. It is okay (I guess) in Washington, but not here!! Sununu has served with honor and should not be treated as if he is not one of us - he is and should be treated with some assemblence of dignity.
- David Gereau, Nashua
One thing that comes up when the jobs problem is discussed is that "these jobs are never coming back" meaning manufacturing.
Manufacturing is and always was a prime way of creating wealth. With the advent of greed, the creation of this wealth, was moved out of our country. The lower priced goods fueled rampant consumerism. Selling has become more important than making.
Now the consumers are having trouble obtaining the wealth to support their ability to consume.
Until government decides to foster and protect the country's ability to produce goods hence wealth, things will only get worse until a natural correction, brought out by mass impoverishment arrives.
When a country's collective wealth get exported year in and year out, that country will eventually become a poor country. Being a poor country will lower the labor cost. This would normally attract manufacturing, however who in the world now has the resources to buy goods? Even those working for low wages cannot sustain consumption at the levels of the previous consumers.
Eventually this will bring down the culprits, the multinational and large corporations.
Unfortunately everyone will suffer while this is happening. But one lesson that should be learned by this is "don't put all your eggs in one basket". We really don't need a new vision for the economy, the solution lies in finding dusting off and fixing the old vision of the economy. New businesses such as information technology, should have been viewed as an enhancement, not a replacement.
- Steve, Raymond
We need a new direction in DC - on the economy, on energy, on the federal deficit. To get this new direction, we need a new Senator. I don't know about the other folks reading this website, but I'd say "thanks but no thanks" to another 6 years like the last 8. I just hope everyone thinks when they get in that voting booth - do I want more of the same, or do I want a new direction?
- Gray Chynoweth, Manchester
Real change? Not letting workers vote in private whether or not they want to unionize is change but not the type of change we need.
Real change? Voting for someone who bails out of the state to work at the Kennedy School of politics in Mass for six years and then comes back to NH just to run for senate is change but not the type we need.
Real change? You are going to go after "Big Oil"? Public owned companies that most people who have 401K's are invested in? You want to go after "Big Oil" and this is going to make heating my house and driving my car cheaper how?
Real change? Making student loans avalable to more and more people and having more grants avalable does NOTHING to lower the cost of an education. Have you read the news lately? Too many people are defaulting on student loans already. Have you thought of going after "Big Education" instead? Tuition is the problem. It goes up at least double the inflation rate without the product getting any better.
Real change? You and your husband practice the art of politics of personal destruction, how can the democrats of this state forgive you for trying to paint Obama as a drug dealer during the primaries?
Shaheen is NOT change just the same old Kennedy, Kerry type of politition that will put party ahead of our state.
I don't agree with Sununu on all of his votes but at least he votes the right way most of the time.
- Brian Robinson, Laconia
"Former Governor Shaheen wrote; Create 21st century jobs that will help us continue to be a leader in the global economy." Maybe some have forgotten the 'Paper Mill' saga in the north country of our state when Mrs. Shaheen was governor and only when the need arised was she there to help out. Not when it started to surface. Or how she, seven years ago wanted broad-based taxes and the retail industry with the support of the people of NH made a stong stand to have it shot down in the state government. At that time, Republicans were the majority and respected the people who elected them. Since 2006 we have seen 'big government' increase taxes and spending beyond what our revenues generated. Do we want the same 'big government' in our nation's capitol? You decide on November 4th, because it's your tax dollars being spent.
- Robert M Tarr, Manchester
"In N.H. poll, signs of a Democratic sweep: Double-digit lead for Shaheen over Sununu"
By Matt Viser, Boston Globe Staff, October 25, 2008
Just 10 days before the election, Democratic challenger Jeanne Shaheen has taken a commanding double-digit lead over the Republican incumbent, US Senator John E. Sununu, in a closely watched rematch that could help expand Democratic dominance on Capitol Hill, according to a new Boston Globe poll.
Shaheen, a former three-term governor, has the support of 49 percent of likely voters polled, compared with 36 percent for Sununu. Only 13 percent were undecided.
The Globe poll indicated that Democrats are also ahead in the races for governor and both House seats in the traditionally independent Granite State. The only bright news for Republicans is that former congressman Jeb Bradley is within striking distance of winning his seat back from US Representative Carol SheaPorter, who leads by 5 percentage points.
The state of the presidential race in New Hampshire will be reported in tomorrow's Globe.
The poll provides fresh evidence of the uphill battle that Republicans are facing nationally in the final days of the election, and demonstrates the toll that the economy and an unpopular president is tak ing on incumbent Republicans such as Sununu.
"The economic issues have spelled a lot of trouble for him," said Andrew Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, which conducted the Globe poll. "Once the financial crisis hit, the markets seized up, and people's 401(k)s began to plummet, that's when Republicans got blamed. That was probably the turning point in the Sununu campaign."
In September, a poll conducted by the center indicated Sununu was trailing by just 4 points. But since then, the economy has cratered, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has surged to a strong lead in polls, and Shaheen and Sununu have barraged voters with a nearly continuous onslaught of television attack ads. As of Sept. 30, the candidates had poured a total of more than $8 million into the race since the beginning of 2007.
The Globe survey of 725 likely voters, conducted from Oct. 18 to Oct. 22, has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.
The survey found that US Representative Paul Hodes, the Democratic incumbent, held a lead of 51 percent to 25 percent among those polled in the race against Republican challenger Jennifer Horn, a 44-year-old mother of five who has been dubbed "the Sarah Palin of New Hampshire."
Governor John Lynch also appears to be headed toward an easy reelection, leading state Senator Joe Kenney by 50 percentage points - 67 percent to 17 percent. The Democratic incumbent even leads among Republican voters polled by 5 points.
The US Senate race has been one of the most closely watched campaigns in the country, with two deeply experienced politicians facing off in a rematch of a 2002 contest that ended with Election Day chicanery and two GOP operatives in jail over a phone-jamming scandal.
For Democrats, who are waging competitive campaigns even in deep-red states such as Georgia, Mississippi, and Kentucky, the race in New Hampshire represents a prime opportunity to pick up a Senate seat from a Republican incumbent.
According to the Globe poll, Shaheen appears to be gaining ground in nearly every category after her 4-point defeat to Sununu six years ago.
She is leading in every income level and in every age group but those 65 and older. She also leads everywhere in the state except for the more conservative areas on the Massachusetts border, where Sununu has a 2-point advantage.
Sununu's strongest support came from Republicans, abortion opponents, and regular churchgoers.
The first-term senator had tightened the race over the summer, cutting Shaheen's lead from 12 percentage points in April to 4 points in July, according to polls conducted by the center. In addition to the attack ads, the candidates have held numerous debates in which they have squabbled over the economy, clean energy, and healthcare.
"I think John Sununu has been a little bit too much in bed with our friends in the White House," said Jack Calhoun, a 53-year-old Republican from Harrisville who plans to vote for Shaheen. "I'm willing to give Jeanne Shaheen the nod. But I'm holding my nose; let's put it that way."
Calhoun said he's not overly impressed with Shaheen, but has been disappointed with Sununu's lack of leadership on the economy.
"He can say he's done this or that, but quite honestly it was on his watch, and his party's watch," Calhoun said. "I'm a registered Republican but I'm not so dyed-in-the-wool that I'm going to let the electorate walk the plank for the party. [Shaheen] is the coincidental beneficiary of that. I'm not sure it's because she's articulating a particularly brilliant strategy."
Shaheen, whose campaign theme is "A New Direction," has been running as an agent of change who can reform Washington and is trying to tie Sununu to the unpopular policies of President Bush.
She has seized on the economy and people's fears about the financial collapse, running televised ads criticizing Sununu's support for a partial privatization of Social Security.
Sununu, who at 44 is the youngest member of the Senate, has countered that Shaheen is a poll-watching leaf in the wind who has displayed a dangerous lack of judgment and will vote to raise taxes.
He has been running as an independent-minded politician who has been willing to challenge his party.
Of the two congressional districts in New Hampshire, only one appears to be competitive, the First District in the southern part of the state.
In 2006, Shea-Porter, who had never held elected office, pulled off a shocking upset when she defeated Bradley by nearly 3 points in the only New England congressional district that voted for Bush in 2004.
This year, Shea-Porter has been seen as one of the most vulnerable Democrats, and over the last six months has been trailing in recent polls by as much as 6 points.
The new Globe poll indicates that she has taken a 44-to-39 percent lead. There are 14 percent who are undecided.
If Democrats sweep the elections next month, it would cement a shift that New Hampshire began in 2004 when it was the only state in the country to reverse its support of Bush.
In 2006, New Hampshire elected a Democratic governor by the widest margin in state history; two moderate incumbent Republican congressmen were defeated; and for the first time since 1874, Democrats took control of both houses in the state Legislature.
In the Globe poll, 45 percent of responding likely voters said they would vote for the Democratic candidate in their state Senate race, compared with 30 percent who plan to vote for the Republican candidate.
A third of the New Hampshire electorate has changed in the last eight years, and new voters are more likely to be Democrats than Republicans, according to a study released this month by the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire.
Statewide, voter registration has also eroded for Republicans. In 2002, the last time Sununu and Shaheen faced off, Republicans had an 11-point lead in registered voters. Now, both parties have about 31 percent of the electorate.
Matt Viser can be reached at email@example.com.
"Shaheen the victor in rematch: Bests Sununu, will be first female US senator in N.H. history"
By Matt Viser, Boston Globe Staff, November 5, 2008
LONDONDERRY, N.H. - Former Democratic governor Jeanne Shaheen won a hard-fought rematch for the US Senate yesterday, defeating incumbent Republican John E. Sununu in an often-bitter campaign that attracted attention and money from across the nation.
The victory makes Shaheen the first female US senator in the history of New Hampshire. And in defeating Sununu, Shaheen not only contributed to the Democratic gains in Congress, but she ousted the youngest member of the US Senate and a rising star in the Republican Party.
In a further blow to Republicans, 11-term incumbent US Representative Christopher Shays of Connecticut lost handily to Democratic challenger Jim Himes, a former Goldman Sachs vice president who now runs an affordable-housing nonprofit. The defeat leaves Republicans without a US House member from New England, though they still hold three Senate seats.
"My two-year contract has not been renewed, and no one likes being told someone else is taking your place," Shays told supporters in Norwalk, calling the Democratic surge that hit him and other Republicans a "tsunami."
The New Hampshire Senate race has been one of the most carefully watched campaigns in the country, with two deeply experienced politicians facing off in a grudge match from a 2002 contest that ended with two GOP operatives in jail over a phone-jamming scandal.
With 49 percent of precincts re porting, Shaheen had 53 percent of the vote compared with Sununu's 44 percent.
"Tonight we made history," Shaheen told supporters in Manchester last night in a raucous victory celebration. "I'm proud to have been New Hampshire's first woman governor, and I'm so honored that tonight you have chosen me as your first woman senator."
The two candidates spent $11 million on the race as of Oct. 15, according to campaign finance reports. National Republican and Democratic senatorial committees have also poured money into the race to fund blistering attack advertisements that have blanketed prime time television across the state and in Massachusetts.
"I'm very proud of the work that I was able to do in my six years in the Senate," Sununu told supporters last night in Bedford.
US Senator Susan M. Collins of Maine was the lone bright spot for Republicans in New England, easily defeating her Democratic challenger, US Representative Tom Allen.
Elsewhere in New Hampshire, US Representative Carol Shea-Porter, believed to have been one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the country, fended off former congressman Jeb Bradley in a rematch in the First Congressional District.
In the state's Second District, US Representative Paul Hodes, the Democratic incumbent, defeated Republican challenger Jennifer Horn, a 44-year-old mother of five who has been dubbed "the Sarah Palin of New Hampshire."
Incumbent governor John Lynch, a Democrat, won easily over Republican state Senator Joe Kenney.
Shaheen, whose campaign theme was "A New Direction," ran as an agent of change who can reform Washington. She seized on the economy and fears about the financial collapse, running television ads criticizing Sununu's support for a partial privatization of Social Security.
Sununu portrayed Shaheen as a liberal who will vote to raise taxes - and portrayed himself as an independent-minded politician who has been willing to challenge his party.
But Sununu could not overcome his ties to an unpopular president and a leftward shift that has been brewing in New Hampshire for several years.
A third of the New Hampshire electorate has changed in the last eight years, and new voters are more likely to be Democrats than Republicans, according to a study released this month by the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire.
Statewide, voter registration has also eroded for Republicans. In 2002, the last time Sununu and Shaheen faced off, Republicans had an 11-point lead in registered voters. Now both parties have about 31 percent of registered voters.
"The composition of the electorate is changing," said Wayne Lesperance, a political science professor at New England College in Henniker. "This may be the watershed election that demonstrates how much power that change is going to have."
According to exit polls, Shaheen won in nearly every category, including all age groups, education levels, and income levels. She also won among voters whose top issues were energy policy, the war in Iraq, the economy, and healthcare.
Matt Viser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Gamely, women gain grip on the Granite State"
By Eric Moskowitz, Boston Globe Staff, November 12, 2008
CONCORD - Daniel Webster, New Hampshire's native-son statesman, once looked to the great stone face above Franconia Notch and wrote, "in the mountains of New Hampshire, God almighty has hung out a sign to show that there He makes men."
The great orator, who died in 1852, surely could not have predicted a time when the Old Man of the Mountain would tumble from his granite perch, much less when women would control the levers of power at the State House.
New Hampshire last week voted into office a majority-female Senate, the first time any state in the country has elected a legislative chamber in which women outnumber men.
That might surprise those who know little more about the state than its aggressive motto ("Live free or die") and craggy symbol (the late, lamented Old Man), but not voters or officials in New Hampshire, which has a history of electing women that dates to the 19th Amendment.
The Senate milestone has received national attention, but local reaction was more appreciation than elation, in an understated, New Hampshire sort of way.
"It's great," said Kathy Sullivan, the state's Democratic national committeewoman. "But nobody's like, 'Oh my God, this is so revolutionary.' It's sort of matter of fact."
Indeed, local political watchers focused last week on the fact that Democrats - who in 2006 took hold of the state's Senate, House, and governor's office concurrently for the first time since the 1870s - had maintained power for another term. Only after the dust settled did they realize what women, and voters, had done.
In addition to electing 13 women to the 24-member state Senate, voters also chose former governor Jeanne Shaheen as a US senator, unseating Republican John Sununu, and reelected US Representative Carol Shea-Porter as well as the state's female Senate president and House speaker.
That means Democratic women will hold four of the top seven offices in the Granite State.
"It feels incredibly exciting," said Maggie Hassan of Exeter, who is poised to become Senate majority leader, "but at the same time, not surprising."
If manliness were a US state, it might well be New Hampshire, with its fireworks stores, hunting culture, and highway liquor outlets, and its absence of seat belt and motorcycle helmet laws. Its formidable granite State House is guarded by statues of men such as Webster and John Stark, the Revolutionary War general behind the phrase "Live free or die." But beyond those statues, women have moved and maneuvered among men for decades.
The 19th Amendment, which granted women's suffrage nationwide in 1920, was ratified too late for women to file for that year's New Hampshire elections. No matter. Within a few weeks of its passage, two women had mounted write-in campaigns in the primary and went on to win House seats: Mary Louise Rolfe Farnum, a retired physician, and Jessie Doe, the daughter of a former chief justice.
Fifty years later, Farnum, Doe, and the women who followed were commemorated in an official booklet issued after the 1970 election, which put in office 70 female lawmakers, or about 17 percent of the Legislature. At the time, fewer than 5 percent of legislators nationwide were women.
"One of the many democratic features of New Hampshire's giant Legislature is its femininity," the booklet began, describing a perceived high-water mark for what it termed the "fair sex" and "lady legislators."
"No other legislative body on earth has had so many women lawmakers, never has had, and probably never will," it said.
That high point has been surpassed repeatedly. Today, roughly 150 of the state's 424 legislators are women, putting it about 10 percentage points ahead of the 24 percent of state lawmakers nationwide who are female; the percentage in Massachusetts mirrors the nation.
This is the second time New Hampshire's speaker and Senate president have both been women. A decade ago, Shaheen as governor presided over a State House in which women held all three top offices.
Shaheen, though, was not the state's first female governor; 26 years ago, Republican Senate president Vesta Roy briefly served as acting governor after Hugh Gallen fell ill and died, making her the country's first GOP female chief executive.
As the third-largest legislative body in the English-speaking world, New Hampshire's 400-member House provided women with more opportunities and fewer barriers to entry than those in other states. The volunteer status (lawmakers earn $100 a year) and relatively low cost of campaigning also enabled women to win House seats ahead of their counterparts nationally.
When you have one representative per 3,000 or so residents, "the old boys club, so to speak, isn't as private a club," said Dante Scala, a University of New Hampshire political scientist.
"It's a natural progression from being the volunteer on the PTA to being on the school board to being in the state Legislature," said Donna Sytek, a Republican who became the state's first female House speaker 12 years ago. Although there were many women at the State House when she arrived in the 1970s, Sytek saw considerable changes over three decades. When she started, the women with time to commit to the Legislature were largely homemakers; when she left in 2000, most were balancing careers or had retired from professions.
The successful women set examples for other candidates and the electorate. The current speaker, Terie Norelli, was a freshman when Sytek won the office. Sylvia Larsen, the Senate president, first met Shaheen as a volunteer nearly 30 years ago when Shaheen was coordinating Jimmy Carter's reelection campaign. Larsen, in an interview, credited the three-term governor, political activist, and mother of three with demonstrating to this fiscally conservative, socially moderate, libertarian-minded state that a Democrat, and a woman, could lead.
Shaheen, who served three terms in the state Senate, said yesterday that she looked to leaders such as the late Susan McLane, who chaired multiple committees and introduced hundreds of bills over nearly three decades in the House and Senate.
McLane viewed eclipsing the 33-percent-female ratio in the Senate, nearly 20 years ago, as significant, Shaheen said. Although not a round number heralded in the press, it marked a subtle change in behavior among male lawmakers: Women were not treated differently, she said.
But the "real breakthrough" will come when women in politics make news only for their leadership, experience, and ideas, Shaheen said.
Indeed, "how many times have we had four, five, six, seven of those [top] positions held by men and it wasn't a story?" said Norelli, the House speaker.
Norelli presides over the 189-year-old Representatives Hall, the nation's oldest legislative chamber in continuous use. On Saturday, Girl Scouts from across the state climbed into the seats ordinarily occupied by lawmakers, gathering there for an awards ceremony and afternoon tea. They were addressed by New Hampshire's chief law enforcement officer, a former Girl Scout: Kelly Ayotte, the attorney general.
Ayotte has argued before the US Supreme Court and given birth to two children while in public office. Standing beneath massive oil paintings of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Pierce, she spoke to the girls about balancing work and family and pursuing dreams, as well as what she called the privilege of helping others.
"It's what motivates me," Ayotte told the girls, "and I hope motivates you as you become the future leaders of this state."
Eric Moskowitz can be reached at email@example.com.
"Shaheen speaks on energy in her Senate debut"
By JOHN DISTASO, Senior Political Reporter, NH Union Leader, 1/10/2009
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In her first Senate floor speech Thursday afternoon, freshman Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said a major part of addressing the recession “should be to invest in clean, alternative energy and energy efficiency.”
Shaheen’s remarks echoed those of President-elect Barack Obama in a speech in Virginia and Gov. John Lynch in his inaugural address in Concord, both yesterday.
Shaheen was sworn in on Tuesday as the state’s new junior senator and was assigned to the Senate energy and foreign relations committees.
Shaheen delivered her first floor speech at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. She called for a “bold economic recovery package” investing in infrastructure to “create needed jobs in the short-term and foster economic development in the long-term.
“With a bold investment in energy efficiency and clean, alternative energy, we can create millions of new 21st century green collar jobs, begin to reverse global warming and start on the path to energy independence,” Shaheen said.
She said that New Hampshire small businesses “already are leaders in the new energy economy, making everything from wood pellets to ethanol from forest by-products to solar panels and biofuels. We have seen firsthand how investment in clean energy creates good jobs up and down the economic ladder -- advanced manufacturing jobs, highly skilled construction jobs, jobs installing solar panels and energy efficiency systems, jobs selling and delivering new fuels.”
Shaheen also said that as the government spends money on economic recovery, “we must also develop a comprehensive plan to address the nation’s ballooning deficit and the enormous national debt we have inherited.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was in the chamber for the speech and later called Shaheen “a great statesperson.”
Yesterday, Shaheen met with Department of Energy Secretary-designate Steven Chu.
As an incoming member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, she will play a role in confirming Secretary-designate Chu to his new position, said Shaheen spokesman Alex Reese.
Shaheen said she hopes to work with Chu and the Obama Adminstration "to help move our nation in a new direction on energy policy. We must make serious investments in clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and we must upgrade our energy transmission system to lay the foundation for a 21st century green economy. These investments will create good jobs, help revitalize our economy, begin to curb global warming, and put us on the path to energy independence."
Today (1/10/2009), Shaheen is scheduled to attend an open house at her new state office at 1589 Elm St., Suite 3, in Manchester.
I'm just curious, did Jeannie forgo her Federal pay raise this year?? Or maybe even donate it to a good New Hampshire charity. The one that she so vigorously belittled Senator Sunueau about during her Senatorial campaign. In the world of hypocracy she is a real work of art.
- Pete, Manchester
Wow, so many sour grapes in NH these days. All responders thus far - men and perhaps Sununu by products and worshipers? Get over it. Shaheen will do a fine job for NH.
- Judy Burke, Austin, Texas
Look at it this way, she can't get any worse. I hope. OK - it's all downhill from here.
- Leo, Canterbruy
Jeanne did a great job pushing Obama's talking points. Her first day on the job as a "string puppet" worked out well.
- Chris, Merrimack
Jeannie Shaheen is Washington State's third Senator, oh great!
- Johnnie G, Merrimack
"we can create millions of new 21st century green collar jobs"...you really can't make this stuff up! Glad she's representing NH...I need a stiff drink!
- Mike, Epping
You understand enengy completely and politicians also!
- Bob H, Londonderry
Hey Tax Machine....uhhh, I mean, Jeanne....look up the word "nuclear." The only alternative energy source that's worth investing in is called nuclear (pronounced nu-clear unless your a useless ex-president slash treasonous peanut farmer). Wind and solar have been around for quite some time, and for quite some time have proven that they are not cost effective.
Oh on another note, since the world's average temperature has been falling over the last few years, you can stop using the term "global warming." It's only applicable now in public schools and green-nut rallies.
Thanks in advance for taxing me without representation.
- Mike, Temple
I don't know about energy, but I'm sure there was plenty of hot air.
- Tom, Campton
Wow, one day on the job and Jeannie is already "a great statesperson" according to Harry. Jeannie, did you memtion nuclear in your speech?
- Bob H, Londonderry
"State makes plea for better care for veterans"
NH Union Leader Online, 1/15/2009
MANCHESTER – Yesterday, the state's congressional delegation called for improving veterans' health care in the state on the same day President-elect Barack Obama's choice to head the Veterans' Administration had his confirmation hearings.
Retired Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, 66, promised to modernize the nation's second largest agency at his confirmation hearing yesterday before the U.S. Sen. Veterans Affairs Committee.
With New Hampshire one of only three states without a full-service veterans hospital, the state's U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Judd Gregg introduced legislation to increase veterans' access to health care.
The legislation requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure every state has a full-service veterans' hospital or comparable services by contracting with in-state hospitals. The legislation is almost identical to a bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Carol Shea- Porter earlier this month and two years ago.
Shea-Porter said she was delighted the senators introduced the legislation today in the Senate.
"It's all good and puts strength into it. It's something that is already on the track and the train has left the station," she said.
Shaheen said in a prepared statement: "Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter has led this fight in the House, and I'm honored to stand with her, Senator Gregg and Congressman (Paul) Hodes in our bipartisan commitment to honor New Hampshire veterans. New Hampshire is the only state that does not offer either a full-service VA hospital or access to in-state medical services comparable to a full-service VA for all our veterans. I'm glad that the entire New Hampshire delegation stands united in attempting to correct this injustice."
Gregg said: "In recent years, considerable strides have been made to expand health care options for New Hampshire veterans, including the addition of radiological services at the Manchester VA Medical Center. While we've made progress and reduced the number of veterans traveling long distances to receive care, more can be done."
At his confirmation hearings yesterday, Shinseki said the veteran health care system needs improvement adding six-month waits to have a disability claim processed is not acceptable.
He received a warm welcome from senators at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
Shea-Porter said she is delighted to hear someone talk about the issues veterans are facing like post-traumatic stress disorder, brain injuries, the backlog for disability claims, the trouble finding jobs and homelessness.
"He understands," she said.
She said she expects to have a conversation with Shinseki shortly about the VA hospital in New Hampshire.
Senate Committee Chairman Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, said he anticipates Shinseki would be confirmed on Tuesday -- the day Obama is sworn in as President. Akaka praised Shinseki's qualifications and empathy for veterans, but warned that leading the agency wouldn't be easy.
"The frustrating lack of timeliness, and the challenges of coordinating DOD and VA's systems, are some of the areas that must be addressed quickly," he said.
Shinseki was the Army's first four-star general of Japanese-American descent. As Army chief of staff, he helped lead the Army's transformation to a lighter, more mobile force. He retired in 2003, shortly after clashing with the Bush administration on war policy.
Shinseki said a priority would be to ensure that new GI benefits are rolled out in August, as planned.
He promised to work to reopen benefits to many "Priority 8" middle-income veterans who didn't qualify under the Bush administration. Such "Priority 8" veterans, whose income exceeded roughly $30,000 annually, were blocked from enrollment in the VA system in /
During the campaign season Bill Shaheen stood up at the NH Soldiers Home in Tilton and said if my wife is elected to the US Senate there will be a full service VA hospital here in Manchester NH. I glad to see this is the start of that promise. NH needs a full service VA hospital and our veterans should expect no less.
- Joe Kenney, Wakefield
I hope the attempt to provide better access to care for veterans includes provisions for vouchers that allow a vet to use a provider of choice rather than mandate using a VA facility. Also, I hope Sen's Gregg and Shaheen included providing the Veterans who have established a relationship with the White River Jct. Vt. VA hospital to continue to use it.
Do not allow the Vets to be pawns or loosers in a territorial battle between VA beuracrats. The bottom line should be the easiest and best care for Veterans. To make any NH vet change from the White River VA to Manchester would be unfair, disruptive to care and unnessessary.
- pete, sunapee
"Gregg, Shaheen split on stimulus vote"
By Associated Press, Saturday, February 14, 2009, www.bostonherald.com, U.S. Politics
WASHINGTON — Not surprisingly, New Hampshire Sens. Judd Gregg and Jeanne Shaheen split on the economic stimulus vote.
Gregg voted against the $787 billion package and Shaheen voted for it.
Friday’s vote came a day after Gregg withdrew as President Barack Obama’s nominee as commerce secretary.
In the House, Democrats Carol Shea-Porter and Paul Hodes voted for the plan.
"Shaheen returns from Brussels Forum"
boston.com - New Hampshire news, March 23, 2009
CONCORD, N.H. --New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has returned from a trip to Belgium, where she participated in discussions on national security, strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan and climate change policy.
Shaheen was invited to the annual Brussels Forum as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs.
She spent the weekend holding private and public meetings with government officials from across Europe, Asia, Russian and the Middle East to discuss the international financial crisis, NATO efforts in Afghanistan and climate change.
She says all those challenges will require international cooperation and coordination.
"Shaheen seeking questions for SBA hearing"
The Boston Globe Online, AP, March 28, 2009
CONCORD, N.H. --U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is looking for a few good questions.
Shaheen is a member of the Senate committee that will hold a confirmation hearing on Wednesday for Karen Gordon Mills, President Obama's nominee to be head of the Small Business Administration.
Shaheen says she believes a strong SBA is more important than ever, with so many small businesses struggling. She is asking New Hampshire residents and businesspeople to contact her with potential questions.
Questions should be submitted by 5 p.m. Tuesday to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questioners should include their name, e-mail address, mailing address and a daytime phone number.
"NH gets grants to redevelop contaminated land"
AP, May 9, 2009
CONCORD, N.H. -- New Hampshire is receiving nearly $3 million in federal money to help clean contaminated property for redevelopment.
The so-called Brownfields money is used to assess, clean and revitalize contaminated property so it may be redeveloped.
Senator Jeanne Shaheen says the grants will help attract new businesses, create jobs and improve the quality of life.
The state Department of Environmental Services is getting the largest grant, $1 million; with other grants going to Jaffrey, the Lakes Region Planning Commission, Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission and Rockingham Planning Commission.
The Boston Globe, Op-Ed, JEANNE SHAHEEN
"A new NATO for a new world"
By Jeanne Shaheen, May 13, 2009
THE North Atlantic Treaty Organization, widely considered the most successful regional security alliance in history, recently celebrated its 60th anniversary, and it has much to show for it. NATO helped end the Cold War without firing a single shot and is responsible for bringing together a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace - a dramatic achievement considering that two devastating world wars were fought on the continent in three decades.
Despite these past successes, we have lost strategic focus in adapting NATO to meet the challenges of today, and have put off answering some important long-term questions over the last decade. It's essential that we begin the dialogue on NATO's future now because our opportunity to make sure NATO continues to represent a force for good in the world is quickly approaching.
NATO will soon begin a crucial re-writing of its Strategic Concept document, which defines a strategic direction and offers clear guidance for all of NATO's political and military actions. Over the past 10 years, the world has changed dramatically, but the Strategic Concept has not been updated substantively since 1999. In that time we have endured some of the most deadly acts of global terror ever on NATO soil, including the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the bombings in the United Kingdom and Spain. We have made remarkable technological advances that created an interconnected world but bring new security challenges. And we face the potentially devastating dangers associated with the proliferation of nuclear materials and technology around the globe. Our world has changed, and NATO must change with it.
NATO's military commitment in Afghanistan remains the most pressing issue for the Alliance in the short term. But a number of other nontraditional threats face NATO members, including nuclear proliferation, cyber warfare, energy security, piracy, even pandemic health problems. This begs the question: How does NATO find consensus on the scope of its responsibilities, missions, and relationships?
Last week, the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs held a hearing on NATO's strategic challenges for the next generation. As policymakers have been busy putting out fires all over the globe, it has been too easy to neglect the kinds of long-term strategic thinking that brought about the creation and ultimate successes of NATO half a century ago and which is desperately needed to meet modern-day threats.
A former senior official at the State Department, Dr. Daniel Hamilton of Johns Hopkins University, spoke of the urgent need to update NATO's mission. He testified that the "security challenges we face have changed, but the need for a common response has not."
Since the end of the Cold War, the debate over NATO's future focused primarily on enlargement and NATO's "open door" policy. The effort has been a great success with the addition of 12 new members since 1999. But despite this important strengthening of the Alliance, we have failed to clearly define what exactly NATO should be doing to address emerging threats.
As we confront these new challenges, we must remember that there are limits to NATO's resources and capabilities. For example, is NATO adequately equipped to meet cyber threats? Or piracy? Or swine flu?
NATO will simply not be able to meet every challenge that threatens its members. On some issues, NATO will take the lead. But on others, NATO will have to partner with other international institutions, like the United Nations or the European Union. As we rewrite the Strategic Concept to guide the next decade of NATO operations, we must clearly define when NATO should lead, when it should collaborate with other international organizations, and when it should take a back seat.
NATO's member nations have some difficult questions to answer. It will not be easy to find consensus on these issues, which is why we need to start this dialogue now. The United States must play a role in shaping this debate so that NATO is as successful for our children as it was for us.
US Senator Jeanne Shaheen chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs.
Attorney John Kacavas of Manchester, New Hampshire.
"Kacavas selected as next U.S. attorney"
By DAN TUOHY AND DALE VINCENT, New Hampshire Union Leader, May 16, 2009
MANCHESTER – President Obama yesterday nominated John Kacavas of Manchester as the next U.S. Attorney for New Hampshire.
Members of the legal and law enforcement community praised the choice.
Former New Hampshire Attorney General Philip T. McLaughlin, who hired Kacavas as a state prosecutor in the early 1990s and later appointed him chief of the Homicide Unit, cited the nominee's skills and professionalism.
Kacavas, he said, brings to the job "an excellent intellect, legal experience, practical experience and very balanced world view."
Kacavas, 48, is a partner at Kacavas Ramsdell & Howard, a law firm he co-founded in 2002. He is nominated to succeed Thomas Colantuono, President Bush's appointee.
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., who recommended him for the job, said she looks forward to a speedy confirmation.
"John's leadership in the New Hampshire legal community for the past two decades, particularly his many years as a prosecutor, makes him exceptionally qualified for this position," she said.
Last night, Kacavas said he was asked to refer any questions about the nomination at this point to the Department of Justice's Office of Public Affairs.
"But I am going to express my deepest gratitude to Sen. Shaheen for recommending my name," Kacavas said.
Hillsborough County Attorney Marguerite Wageling hailed Kacavas both as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney.
"I couldn't be more delighted. He's a star among us," she said. "He's very smart and his integrity is unquestionable."
New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly A. Ayotte said she is looking forward to working with Kacavas in his new role.
"He brings good experience as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney," Ayotte said. "He will work well with both state and local law enforcement, as well as federal law enforcement."
From 1993 to 1998, Kacavas worked as a prosecutor in the state Attorney General's Office. He has also worked in private practice at the law firm of Wiggin & Nourie. In 1999, he served as a trial attorney on the U.S. Department of Justice Campaign Finance Task Force.
Kacavas, a former one-term state representative from Manchester, graduated from St. Michael's College, received a master's degree in international relations from American University, and earned his law degree from Boston College Law School.
William Shaheen, a former U.S. attorney for New Hampshire, said Kacavas will serve remarkably.
"John Kacavas is perfect for the job," he said. "I've known him for many, many years. I've watched him as an assistant attorney general. I've heard of his prowess in the courtroom trying murder cases."
Kacavas is as qualified a candidate out there, said Charles T. Putnam, co-director of JusticeWorks at the University of New Hampshire and a former chief of Homicide Prosecutions and the Criminal Justice Bureau for the state Attorney General's Office.
"John brings a wealth of experience and a fine legal mind to the job of U.S. Attorney," Putnam said. "I knew him to be a fair-minded prosecutor and extremely talented trial attorney when we worked together at the AG's office."
John Hutson, dean of Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, did not know Kacavas personally, but he said Kacavas has a great reputation as a lawyer and as a person.
"It is an important and tough job requiring a person and office that is both proactive and reactive to the changing legal environment. I'm sure he is up to it," Hutson said.
Obama nominated six people yesterday for U.S. Attorney posts. He also nominated Preet Bharara for the Southern District of New York, Tristram Coffin for Vermont, Jenny Durkan for the Western District of Washington, Paul Fishman for New Jersey, and Joyce Vance for the Northern District of Alabama.
"This group of men and women have distinguished themselves as fair, tenacious and respected attorneys throughout their careers in both public and private service," Obama said. "They will serve their country with distinction as U.S. Attorneys, and it is my honor to nominate them for these esteemed positions."
This announcement recognizes the long and distingushed career of involvement John has had. I would remind all critics of the hundreds of (unpaid)hours John committed to the Citizens'Task Force on School Facilities, as Chairman he worked tirelessly for the students of Manchester. Our schools and our community are better today because of his dedication and caring nature. Thank you John.
- Alderman Mark Roy, Manchester
I can't say for sure why Thomas Colantuono was replaced but it may have to do with him being more of a water carrier for the Republican party than he was interested in meting out justice for the U.S. and New Hamphsire. His delaying tactics in the phone jamming case are quite peculiar considering the time frame and the up coming election of 2004 while his speed and urgency in bringing forth charges against any Democrat that could affect an election is very curious.
- Tom, Dover-Foxcroft, Me.
For all of you who do not understand the political appointment process....
U.S. Attorneys and U.S. Marshals are APPOINTED by the president for the term in which the president will serve. One their term is over, so isn't he appointee...unless the replacement desides to keep them. BUT in most circumstances, the apointee resigns on their own after the new election. Mr. Colontuano was not fired, nor will Mr. Moiner be. Had Mr. Lynch not won his new term, you would have probably been looking at a new AG as well.
- ME, Manchvegas
John Kacavas is a fine man who will serve the people well.
- Sharon, Manchester
Why was Mr. Colantuono removed? Apparently the democrats are allowed fire US Attorneys and replace them with political donors, in effect buying their way into power. When Bush did something similar a few years ago the press had a hissy fit. Now we get a fluff piece when the sides are changed. Nice job Union Leader, I'm sure your crack investigation team is all over it?
- Joe, Bedford
John Kacavas is an excellent pick for US Attorney. Not only does he have experience as a homicide prosecutor, congressional aide, state legislator, and school board member, he is a man whose integrity is widely recognized by his colleagues in the legal and political community.
Superb pick by President Obama.
- Ald. Peter Sullivan, Manchester
To WS in Manchester,
Your comments give the distinct impression that YOU could perform the job of US Attorney. Rather than give a cheap shot, lets see your credentials and compare them to those of John Kacavas. Lets see who is better qualified. Or would you prefer simply to contine to complain from the cheap seats??
- John, Concord
Kavacas' integrity will be tested immediately. Federal Judge Joseph Laplante has ordered and investigation of the attorney general's office for obstruction of justice in a long-standing criminal prosecution which later became a federal civil suit. The former U.S. attorney and the present acting U.S. attorney have sat on this for two years. We should know in a few months after his appointment if he is worthy of the praise he is receiving.
- dave coltin, Newburyport, Ma
no surprise shaheen recommended kacavas, he did, after all, donate $1,000 to her campaing. see for yourself.
- Mike Conway, Manchester
Great choice. John deserves it. Good Luck.
- Jim, Manchester
As a client, I've had a close, personal attachment. John's moral principles and deep commitment levitated in the courtroom. I couldn't be more proud to have him represent our state at the helm of NH's legal ship.
- Jim V, Nashua, NH
- Jack Alex, Manchester
Gee..I used to walk to Southside with him until he moved until the North End..who knew?
- DK, Manchester
John is an excellent choice. The couldn't of picked a more deserving person. Kudos!!!
Also, another Greek in a great political position. Opa!!!
- John, Hooksett
Ewwwwwwwww! Bad Choice...bad man.
- MB, Manchester
So the Obama admin is firing attorney's and replacing them with their political friends? Wasn't that what the Democrat Party was complaining about a few years ago??
- Pete, Auburn
Finally the Obama Adinistration gets something right. Congratulations John
- Marc, Warwick RI
John Kacavas is a great choice. The President got this one right. Congratulations and best wishes to him!
- SP, Manchester, NH
WS, elected to what? This position is by appointment only. Sounds like a poor attempt at a cheap shot.
- Bob V, Manchester
I guess if you can't get elected, the next best thing is to get appointed.
- WS, Manchester
"Shaheen to announce business council"
AP - boston.com - May 18, 2009
MANCHESTER, N.H. --U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is turning to New Hampshire's small business owners for advice.
Shaheen is visiting the WH Bagshaw Company in Nashua on Monday to announce her new Small Business Advisory Council, which will keep her updated on challenges and opportunities businesses are facing. Shaheen serves on the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
The Bagshaw Company, which opened in 1870, makes pins, pin assemblies and wire products used in a variety of industries, including the automotive, electrical, medical and textile industries.
"NH's Shaheen supports Sotomayor"
Boston.com - AP - May 26, 2009
CONCORD, N.H. --New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen says she looks forward to a fair and swift confirmation for Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.
Shaheen, a Democrat, says Sotomayor has led a distinguished career as a federal judge and has consistently demonstrated independence and a deep knowledge of the law. She says Sotomayor has received strong bipartisan support in the past.
Sen. Judd Gregg, a Republican, says he congratulates Sotomayor on her nomination and looks forward to carefully reviewing her qualifications.
"Shaheen: Reform doesn't mean rationing: Sen. visits senior center"
By HOLLY RAMER The Associated Press, concordmonitor.com - August 22, 2009
The debate over health care reform shouldn't focus solely on whether to include a government medical plan to compete with private insurance, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said yesterday.
Instead, the first-term Democrat said it's important not to lose sight of other goals, including reversing a health care model that reimburses providers for procedures, not good outcomes or preventive efforts.
"So much of the focus has been on the public option or not the public option. It's been on how much it's going to cost; it's been on trying to misinform. And we've got to really look at what's going to work in our health care system and what's not only cost-effective but what improves outcomes," Shaheen said while visiting a southeastern New Hampshire senior health center she called a model for its focus on prevention, wellness and coordinated care.
Shaheen spoke to about 35 patients and staff at Elliot Senior Health Center, which combines medical offices with community services such as a fitness center, computer lab and wellness programs.
Martha Jones, 83, of Hooksett, said she was diagnosed with pulmonary disease two months ago and is worried she won't get the treatment she needs if Congress passes a health care reform bill.
"We're living longer than we expected to live, so we're worried about our finances," she said.
Shaheen said the reform legislation would make Medicare more efficient but won't change the level of care Jones receives.
"I don't know where the idea that we were going to ration care under Medicare if health care reform went through came from, but it's not true," said Shaheen, who also said the so-called public option would not be a first step toward a single-payer system in which the government covers everyone. "We need to do a better job and be more effective with how we provide care through Medicare . . . but the idea that suddenly you're not going to get the care you need because we pass health care reform is just wrong."
At a similar event a day earlier, Republican Sen. Judd Gregg said just the opposite. He told seniors in Salem that a public option will inevitably lead to a single-payer system, the stifling of innovation and the rationing of care.
In Manchester, David Longhenry of Raymond told Shaheen his main objection to the reform bills being negotiated in Congress is the cost.
"The cost absolutely frightens me," he said. "I have great-grandchildren, and I'm worried they're going to be picking up the bill and saying, 'Good God, Great-Grampa, what did you do to me?' "
He said the federal government should stay out of the insurance business and focus on fixing the existing system.
Shaheen said she shares his concern about cost but that without reform, costs will continue to grow at an alarming rate.
"I think the goal here is to address the costs in the health care system, and we've got to stabilize costs because at the rate we're going, we are going to pass along huge costs to the next generation," she said.
"More in Congress question Afghanistan policy"
By Matthew Lee, Associated Press Writer, September 13, 2009
WASHINGTON --Congressional skepticism over the Obama administration's plans for Afghanistan mounted Sunday as three senators questioned whether more troops should head there and one lawmaker called for a withdrawal timeline.
Democrats Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Diane Feinstein of California along with Republican Susan Collins of Maine said they shared colleagues' concerns about boosting troop levels before substantial bolstering of the Afghan military and police.
"I just don't know that more troops is the answer. We clearly need more American civilians to help build up institutions. We need to grow the size of the Afghan army. But we're dealing with widespread corruption, a very difficult terrain, and I'm just wondering where this ends and how we'll know if this succeeded," said Collins, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The committee chairman, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., has urged the White House to avoid escalating the war and speed up training for Afghan security forces instead of sending more U.S. troops into combat.
Shaheen, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said she understood Levin's concerns but stressed that she wanted more information on the administration's Afghanistan policy from Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces there. He recently submitted a broad review of Afghan strategy to President Barack Obama.
"I think we need to get the measurements that Congress has mandated from the White House on how we're going to determine progress in Afghanistan," she said.
She added that "while I appreciate Sen. Levin's concerns and think they're very real, I think it's too soon to be able to make that determination. We need to assess these reports."
Feinstein, who leads the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she supported training the Afghan security forces but did not believe U.S. goals in Afghanistan had been outlined clearly.
"My view is that the mission has to be very clear. I believe it is not now," she said. "I do not believe we can build a democratic state in Afghanistan. I believe it will remain a tribal entity."
She called for a specific date for the withdrawal of American forces.
"I believe the mission should be time-limited, that there should be no, `Well, we'll let you know in a year and a half, depending on how we do.' I think the Congress is entitled to know, after Iraq, exactly how long are we going to be in Afghanistan."
Their comments came as the administration considers whether to boost the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond the 68,000 approved to be there by the end of the year. Congressional leaders are expected to be briefed this week on McChrystal's review.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates is expected to request additional forces to address what he sees as shortfalls in the military's ability to deal with a rising threat from roadside bombs in Afghanistan. That would not necessarily mean more forces above the current 68,000, but might mean replacing some existing forces with others specializing in bomb detection and removal and medical response.
The senators spoke on CNN's "State of the Union."
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen: "A foundation for better American health care"
By SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN, NH Union Leader, Op-Ed, December 29, 2009
More than 60 years ago, President Harry S. Truman said: "Millions of our citizens do not now have a full measure of opportunity to achieve and to enjoy good health. Millions do not now have protection or security against the economic effects of sickness. And the time has now arrived for action to help them attain that opportunity and to help them get that protection."
The economic realities of the American health care system as acknowledged by President Truman and so many past Presidents -- Republicans and Democrats alike -- still exist today. For decades, health care costs have threatened the stability of our nation's middle class, small businesses and economy.
Last week, the Senate passed a health care reform bill that, though not a perfect fix to our health care problems, is a solid first step toward a stable and secure health care system.
Much of the public focus on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been on insurance reforms and consumer benefits, with good reason. This bill will provide affordable health insurance to more than 30 million uninsured Americans, including tens of thousands in New Hampshire. It will prevent insurance companies from denying coverage to patients who have pre-existing conditions and will eliminate lifetime limits on coverage. This bill will stop insurance companies from dropping their customers if they get sick, and it makes prescription drugs more affordable.
Holding insurance companies accountable is the right thing to do, but it is not the only benefit of this bill. Perhaps the most important aspect of this bill can be summed up in two words: cost control.
Years of perverse incentives have encouraged health care professionals to practice more medicine rather than better medicine. Under our current system, providers are paid based on the number of patients they treat and the number of procedures they perform.
Research conducted at Dartmouth College shows us that a high quantity of care does not mean a high quality of care and that we can save billions of dollars by reforming our health delivery system.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act encourages health care providers to better coordinate care through the expansion of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), a concept championed by Dartmouth's Dr. Elliot Fisher. ACOs encourage primary care doctors and specialists to work together and share information to develop the best treatment plan for the patient. And ACOs will reward doctors not based on how many procedures they perform, but instead based on the health outcomes of each patient. I wrote a provision in the Senate bill to expand ACOs to cover all patients regardless of their insurance plan.
We also save money by cutting Medicare waste. Medicare has served our seniors well. This bill will ensure we continue to serve our seniors long into the future by strengthening the program and extending its solvency. But in even the best systems, there is always room for improvement.
A New England Journal of Medicine study conducted earlier this year found that almost one-third of Medicare patients who were discharged from a hospital were rehospitalized within 90 days, mainly due to lack of follow-up care. This problem costs Medicare an estimated $17 billion per year and is frustrating to our seniors. We can do better.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and I worked on a measure, included in the Senate bill, to provide better transitional care following hospitalization. This could save approximately $5,000 per Medicare beneficiary while improving the quality of care he or she receives.
These reforms and the many others in this legislation will not only cut costs to make the health care system run better, but also they will make our nation's economy run better.
Health care costs have been rising three times faster than wages, and two-thirds of bankruptcies in America are caused by medical expenses. Health care costs make up a staggering 18 percent of our economy. That path is not sustainable, and this bill puts us on a different path. This bill is fully paid for -- it will not add one dime to our already too-high national deficit. In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office states that this legislation will reduce the deficit by $132 billion over 10 years. The bill also provides significant tax credits to small businesses to help them cover health insurance for their employees.
Today, we are closer than ever to ensuring that health care is within reach of all Americans. There is a lot of hard work ahead of us, but the foundation we have laid -- one that values efficient and effective health care -- will ensure a healthier America for future generations.
Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, is a U.S. senator from New Hampshire.
I’d like to believe your positive assessment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act… but I am skeptical. The insurance practices you rail against are all about managing risk; if any insurer (including a public option) is prohibited from limiting risk in the fashion you (and many consumers) object to, then the insurer will have to spread that risk to all others, which will raise the cost of insurance to them. It’s not like the pre-existing conditions, illnesses and expensive prescriptions are just going to disappear. No, they will just be paid by the rest of us.
You trumpet the prospects for cost control in the bill and I hope that the reforms you outline work as intended. However, since no one in the Senate has the guts to take on the AMA and the hospitals for artificially constraining the supply of qualified doctors and hospitals by excessive qualifications, rules and regulations (characterized, of course, as “necessary to protect our health”), we Americans are forced to pay exorbitant medical fees and salaries because the demand for services far exceeds the supply. I think you folks have at best trimmed at the edges. While I am pleased that many Americans will now apparently enjoy some measure of medical insurance, I fear that run-away medical costs will continue to increase at two to three times the rate of general inflation for the next decade or until the next crisis forces some fundamental change.
- Philip Turner, Charlestown
Cost control... The answer to all unanswerable questions to a politician on "what will it cost"?
Ms Senator... " where " is the cost control... point to it. WHERE?
- Bill Sanford, Sturgis, MI
"This bill will provide affordable health insurance to more than 30 million uninsured Americans"
Really?!? By installing an individual mandate that requires the purchase of a very comprehensive soup to nuts healthcare plan enforced by penalty of taxation and jail time. The laughable part is you're calling it affordable. A 61 old with a family of four can be required to spend over $26,000 a year on premiums plus the deductibles with an income of $89,000 and get ZERO subsidy.
Also where is the reform part?
No importation of drugs.
No public plan.
No expansion of medicare.
No tort reform.
No shopping across state lines.
All paid for by $500 billion in cuts to Medicare a program that was already badly bleeding and in need of resources. Also paid for with a 40% tax on Cadillac plans we are all required to buy for our families. (the CBO estimates more then 50% of family plans will be subject to the tax by 2019)
Someone tell me how this is progress?
- noc, SF, CA
This legislation is based upon a very basic lie as to its cost. The senate jury-rigged the CBO numbers to achieve a desired result, plain and simple by front-loading revenues (i.e. taxes) and back-loading services.
Dogmatism trumped honesty, and Ms. Shaheen repeats the lie to support her extreme ideology -- a position that an overwhelming number of Americans, not to mention Granite Staters, do not support.
Any corporate type who perpetrated this scheme would soon occupy the cell next to either Bernie Madoff or Ken Lay. Repeating them in her UL piece is an act of total fleckless perfidy and an insult to all her constitutes.
- Steven, Swanzey
We are unlikely to see much change until we break the link between health care and money.
A good start will be for the federal government to fund local governments to operate storefront clinics staffed with salaried primary care physicians and nurse practioners, where most walks-ins can be treated for $100 a visit. instead of $2,000 emergency room visits. Instead of starting care at the low-tech end and moving up the ladder for sicker patients, we encourage all patients to begin at the top - why are we so invested in a system of sending everyone to an emergency room at capital intensive hospitals which charge $2,000 per day!
- J. Ram Ray, Silver Spring, MD
One has to ask why we, the most powerful, richest nation in the world, can not simply scrap all private insurance and create a simple national health care plan - not-for-profit, single payer. No doctors could refuse patients. No more ore-existing exclusions, etc.
- David, Dallas TX
States like: Arizona, California, New Jersey, New York and Wisconsin - will not be able to afford to subsidize other states’ expansion of health care.
About 20 states that have already have some kind of expanded coverage will see their new Medicaid costs under the bill increased more than the non-expanded coverage states.
Regardless of the final bill that is passed, if the legislatures of the expanded coverage states choose not to participate will it cause the collapse of universal healthcare?
- David R, Manchester
It sounds good Jeanne, too bad it just isn't true. The American people wanted more affordable healthcare but this bill will increase the cost of healthcare for everyone, exactly by how much no one is sure but it will cost more. In addition to that it increases the Medicare tax on everyone even those who can't afford healthcare. Yes you do add 25 million people to the healthcare rolls, the 25 million who could afford healthcare but chose not to pay for it. The 30 million who can't afford healthcare what about them? You hand the insurance industry a sweetheart deal by forcing 25 million people onto thier rolls and then you tell us you are going after them for being greedy? The bill isn't perfect? Then why didn't you take the time and work with the best minds to craft a bill that is as close to perfect as possible? Don't you have something better to do than force the next Obama colossal failure on your constituents? I know it's hard to tell with all the spending going on in Washington but the rest of us are in a prolonged recession with no prospects of improvement in what matters to us most JOBS! In the immortal words of William Jefferson Clinton "It's the economy Stupid!" You just don't get it.
- Don Diamant, Milton, NH
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen,
I just had to say good job on your vote for our Country’s new Health Care System. The Unfortunate thing is that it’s going to affect the pockets of the Middle Class like no other Bill that has ever passed through Washington before. First, you scared the life out of your constituents here in New Hampshire and maybe the financial future of our children by voting on the massive stimulus package without ever reading the bill, which only bought 2,800 jobs, more than likely they were seasonal; paving jobs to New Hampshire. With your support this massive government run health care system bill, which you voted for, and the future taxes that will come with it in time, might never allow your own grandchildren, like mine to succeed in life, as you had the chance to. I think it’s a total shame you went to Washington with your own agenda, and not the agenda of the loyal voter’s who voted for you here in New Hampshire
- tom, Manchester
Wow. Freddy really pounces with the generalizations. Tell us Freddy, does your post have anything intellectual to say? If it does, I certainly can't find it. So Freddy, which part of Congress overstepping their bounds by mandating commerce is a lie? Please enlighten us all. Surely you have something more intelligent to offer than generalizations. Please also tell us how many times the CBO has been off on their numbers. MA couldn't get it right for their state, what makes you think the CBO has it right for the entire country? So Freddy, who is really sipping the koolaid? Just keep blindly following your party as they chip away at your liberties. It won't be long now before you be a full blown ward of the nanny state.
- Todd, Atkinson
Thank you Sen Shaheen for all your well-intentioned efforts.
Those against healthcare reform think in ideological terms and would oppose any legislation, whatever good it may do, if it conflicts with their political indoctrination. Let's be honest, even if healthcare reform were to be perfect it would be rejected by those that would sacrifice lives in the name of ideology.
- Jim Rivera, Manchester, NH
Comrade Shaheen says only one honest thing in this entire cut-and-pasted communist party approved Orwellian boiler-plate communique.
She says that this bill, which takes over the nation's entire healthcare industry, is only the "foundation".
I cannot wait to see what our would-be communist masters are going to try to build upon their new "foundation".
And I cannot wait to see what the response of true red-blooded Americans will be.
We already know what the response of her fellow looters will be ...
WE WANT MORE!
WE DEMAND MORE!
WE ARE ENTITLED TO MORE!
- Dean, Manchester
Oh boy...I hope all of you that were so bent on "changing" things when you all jumped on the democratic band wagon are happy with what is happening to this country! So if you voted for her, dont complain, you asked for it! I can not wait until nov 2010 and nov 2012 all of the marxist, progressive dems will be sent packing. Hopefully the new republican/independent government will will be electing will be able to fix this mess we call the United states of America!
- Cheryl, Allenstown
If the good Senator had access to a long list of posts on this subject, she'd see the same names repeating the same talking point lies and misinformation over and over and over ad nauseum. Ignore them.
Smart people watched the debate, watched the bill improve, and YES NH SUPPORTS THIS BILL no matter what the parrots say. The naysayers still lie about what the CBO report says, chug GOP koolaid from Mitch McConnell, and just hate anything that spells success for Barak Obama.
Thanks Sen Shaheen! Don't worry about elections, NH is a Democrat state now, even if the noise is republican.
- Freddy, Manchester
- Jay Collins, Laconia:
LOL--look on the bright side: at least she isn't teaching PC crap to school kids anymore!
- Paul, Sunapee
Okay lemmings. the wake up call has arrived. I hear a well spring of complaints from the right constantly. Lets review what is really going on here with all this legislation. Since the cronies are all exempt from paying the bill guess what YOU do. This is a socialist workers paradise come true. This is not about helping people out of some mythical crisis, its about the control of an infrastructure by Government Mandate and not a mandate of the masses. Enjoy your yearly payment to be an American in good standing or a tax evading dead beat. This is all the hallmarks of a banana republic propped up by the imperial socialists that are going to crash our goverment, destroy democracy,create chaos, and then take control by force.
- Jon byron, Raymond
A quick Google search of the first two paragraphs of this canned Pelosi-Reid/Obama pap reveals that the exact words are currently also being attributed to Cong. Phil Hare of Illinois. One wonders the pack mentality of liberals who aren’t intelligent enough to think for themselves, but must continue to feed their hated constituents canned talking points – most of which are not true.
And Jeanne’s unwarranted attack on physicians as dishonest – well, it’s actually another quote she lifted from an earlier Obama attack almost verbatim – is just as untrue and unwarranted now as it was then. This Congress and the Obama administration are proving daily that they will go to any lengths they have to in order to run roughshod over the citizens of the United States in their single minded objective of total control over the masses and the destruction of the United States as we have known and loved it for all these years. How anyone with a modicum of intelligence cannot see this is beyond me.
Sadly, those of you who think Jeanne is doing a great job and that this health insurance bill is the greatest thing since sliced bread will also be the first to scream and moan when you realize that you’re actually going to have to pay for it through higher taxes and fees instead of the free ride on the backs of the hated “rich folks” you’ve been promised.
- Sandy, Thornton
Senator Shaheen, I just wanted to add my personal thanks to you for not listening to the MAJORITY of your constituents. Instead you voted to bankrupt this country and put my children, my grandchildren, and my great-grandchildren so far in debt that their quality of life will never be able to match that which we have enjoyed in the country for the past century. The damage you and your ilk have done to America will take decades to correct if it can be corrected at all. You, Nancy, Harry, Obama and the rest of your Socialist gang are all criminals and you should all be charged in a public court with treason in front of a jury of your constituents. I assure you everyone of you would be found guilty!
- Collin, Manchester
To add to Bob from Salem's list:
9) where is the provision that families and/or individuals who do not get their health insurance through their employer can deduct their premiums from their taxes?
10) where is the provision that individuals with high deductible plans can deduct their out of pocket expenses (especially when you paid out almost $2,000 but those out-of-pocket payments don't exceed 7.5% of their AGI so you don't qualify)?
- Christine, Dover
The absolute insanity of spending this type of money and change in our system at this time of a historic economic recession, demonstrates the corruption in our government.
- mike, raymond
PS to James Hancock--No, you won't have to buy health insurance. You can simply take the alternative and pay the $800 federal fine--painlessly, on your Form 1040. (Wait: Whenever I wind up owing them $800 at the end of the year, there are also penalties and interest!) And if you refuse, you won't be a health-care resister; you'll be a tax evader.
If you get sick later, you can sign up for insurance then--as the companies won't be able to reject you. This is not health care. This is a simple tax increase. (To pay for what? for starters, Obama's post-election "stimulus" payoff.)
Brendan of Manchester, you're right that our federal representatives were not elected for their genius. I criticized Republican Gordon Humphrey when his last campaign had no theme other than "broadband for the North." We don't elect them to select outcomes but to put in place a framework where we can live our own lives and make our own decisions. Shaheen and Obama don't get it, and won't obey the limits in their job description.
- Spike, Brentwood NH
I pay for both my kids insurance through Anthem. Their rates increase each year but at a reasonable level (3-5%). Anthem's NH operating officer has written articles for this paper stating the national healthcare legislation passed by the Senate will increase premiums. Once my premiums for my kids go up beyond their normal increases, I will know who to thank.
- Dave, Manchester
Woah.........the loons will be out in full force today. Great job Jeanne!! It's unfortunate that the lemmings who complain about this will be the ones who benefit from this the most.
- Jake, Manchester
One simple question Jake: How do we benefit from increased premiums and a degradation in services due to an influx of unnecessary procedures?
One simple question that no one can answer... That is all I'm asking, but I'm willing to bet you have idea. You just keep toting the Party of Spend's company line.
- Jeff, Nashua
This is utter tripe.
Senator, spare us. The debate is over, and you have lost. We the people, your constituents, the people you supposedly work for, have told you repeatedly, loudly, and clearly that WE DO NOT WANT THIS BILL.
This bill increases costs, explodes the deficit, decreases quality and access, slashes health care for the elderly, creates an unconstitutional mandate to purchase a commodity, raises taxes and kills jobs, creates a death panel protected by an unconstitutional requirement that it cannot be disbanded with less than 67 votes in the Senate, provides corrupt, unconstitutional payouts to individual states in order to purchase senators' votes - and that's just for starters.
This bill is a direct assault on our liberties, on the well-being of our families, and on the fiscal well-being of the Republic.
In spite of this, you are determined to ram this abomination down our throats. You are a member of the most corrupt, unrepresentative, radical, arrogant, power-hungry Congress this country has ever had to suffer.
The battle to repeal this abomination will begin as soon as it is enacted. In less than one year, many of your colleagues are going to lose their jobs. In 3 years we are going to fire Obama. And in 5 years we are going to fire you.
We have long memories.
- Tom, Campton
John from Candia states, "An uninsured person walks into a hospital and says I have no way to pay the bill and they get the same treatment that you get for free. Now who do you think pays the bill?"
The fine for not having the insurance is $750 while an annual premium for insurance will be much higher. You do the math, it makes no sense for a young person to pay the premium when they will be able to get the health care anyway and pass the costs to everyone else. The only way to solve this problem is to allow hospitals to turn down the uninsured when they seek treatment giving them an incentive to buy the insurance. But we know that won't ever get passed.
Jeane our all knowing senator states, "a high quantity of care does not mean a high quality of care ." Were any questions asked about why Doctors play defensive medicine and drive up the costs of health care? Does it have anything to do with the medical malpractice lawsuits brought by the trial lawyers?
As Howard Dean in a moment of clarity stated, "Democrats in Congress did not include tort reform in the health care bill because they were fearful of "taking on" the trial lawyers."
The ultimate goal of this legislation as Barney Frank stated, is to create the perfect conditions for a single payer system. The young and healthy have no incentive to pay health care premiums, this system will drive private insurance carriers out of the business until there will be nothing left except for the government system.
From day one, lawsuits will be filed. Karl Denninger states eloquently enough, "They will succeed, because there is simply no justification anywhere in The Constitution, nor can one be manufactured, to force someone under pain of federal fine and/or imprisonment to purchase something from a private party simply as a consequence of being alive."
- Kyle, Bedford
Will YOU be giving up your TAXPAYER FUNDED "Cadillac" plan in deference to the type of coverage you have voted to foist on the U.S. Taxpayer? Something tells me no. Yet while the rest of us with decent health care,(that we EARNED, by the way), are going to lose out or be taxed, you and your family will live on the cream that has been skimmed from the taxpayer. Ever since your 3rd term as Governor, you have consistently sided with Liberal Special Interests. Your quest to be on the national political stage has caused you to abandon the very people who saw your potential when you first ran for governor. You went from an advocate of the people, to a shining example of the old George Orwell quote:"All Pigs are equal, but some Pigs are more equal than others."
You sold out the very people who lifted you out of the NH Senate and placed their trust in you. I am an Independent, and I voted for you 3 times for Governor. After you allowed "Donor Towns" to exist, I saw your true colors. I did not vote for you for Senate, nor will I vote for you ever again, especially since this latest vote in favor of this Scam on the American People. You were once a shining example of the "Live Free or Die" attitude in this State. Now you are a shill, a Reid lackey, nothing more, nothing less.
- George Davenport, Stoddard, NH
Jeanne - this piece reminds me of the day you signed off on that mess up in Claremont and stated "this fixes everything" when it clearly did no such thing in the state of NH, later creating sender and donator towns to help funds schools and equality from the Claremont suit.
Why have you not trotted out your famous line here? IF someone has not and receives a benefit, assuredly someone else pays more and for the others. It's that basic and elementary. Do you not understand that or do you not want to understand that as you and the gang of Democrats ramrod this down the throats of millions of Americans that do not want this?
Why do you all in Washington not listen to the voters that you swore to represent and not your own selfish interests? WhyJeanne? Why?
How come a multi-nation panel put a global climate change pact in but 20 pages over several days but the Senate needs over 2,000 pages full of pork and pulchritude and then has to buy (bribe) votes to get its way?
You have stained your reputation yet once again and still your persist with your blinders firmly in place to shield the light from the common man's plight. Shame Jeanne Shaheen.
- RG, manchester
When all the representatives in Washington, DC are manadated to drop their current healthcare for the one you voted to inact...I'll support you 100%
- Jerry, Manchester, NH
Mike in Dunbarton:
Do you really think Jeanne wrote this editorial? I expect a staffer wrote it for her and SHE DIDN'T READ THIS EITHER!
There are broken parts to the health care system. Those can be fixed without this overbloated bill. When you need an oil change, do you replace the engine also? I guess, if you're in Congress, you do.
- George, Bedford
... Now there is no question about the prosperity of the middle class! The people in the middle class, most on the edge with their finances, those just starting out in the twenties and thirties, and forced on them a huge new expense that most of them can't afford on top of their mortgages and taking care of their kids.
It is their right to choose what to do with their money, but now they don't have a choice, and we've made them serfs living at the will of King Obama. They get materially poorer every day because the politicians think that they know best what people should do with their money, and justify theft because it serves "the greater good". (Which doesn't exist because there is no society without the individual that they're constantly sacrificing.)
But then this also doesn't solve the unfunded liabilities of the Federal government, which last year, caused the real deficit to hit 5+ trillion and means that even if every man woman, child, and business was taxed at 100% of their income without deductions, we couldn't pay it down, so it's just a matter of time. This will just speed it up, so I guess it's a good thing. Only when the government is bankrupt will they be forced to stop interfering in our lives.
- James Hancock, North Walpole
I look forward to voting your socialistic cronies out of our government in 2010, along with you in 2012. Stop trying to make the American public dependent on government and spread everyones wealth around. As a proud American, I wish to be held responsible for my own success and fortune, and do not wish the government to take my money and tell me what I can and cannot do.
Sorry Senator Shaheen, I do not support you and what you are turning this once proud country into.
- Brian, Nashua, NH
1) Where do you get off not representing your constituents wishes who do not want this bill. Are you smarter than us? No you are not.
2) Why is there nothing about Tort Reform. Do you wish to cut off a major source of political donations. Are you afraid of lawyers and not constituents?
3) Why is cross state border competition not addressed in this bill. Gee wouldn't want to do something that would work.
4) Why all the special deals to buy votes from other Senators. Called bribes to me.
5) If you are a Socialist cant you at least admit it. Why not change your parties name to the socialist democrat party.
6) Calling your constituents names was not to smart. Any apologies in the future coming from you?
7) The democrats have a well deserved reputation for not being trustworthy with money and how to spend it. Do you really think a miracle will occur and you can handle one sixth of the US economy.
8) Please don't talk about Small Business Democrats have turned their backs on us for 50 years. It's just a buzz word to you.
- Bob, Salem
Jeanne, you have 5 years left in the Senate term that you won, ironically, partly by portraying your opponent as a lockstep, party-line voter. But don't think we will forget if you tax our treatment (our doctors, our medical devices, our insurance companies, our employers) to give us, four years out, "coverage" (another guarantee like Social Security or "free" public education). This is too important.
Of course this forum is biased and self-selects for conservatives. But look at the polls. No one other than vested interests wants this plan. Trial lawyers get new grounds for lawsuits, insurance companies have no problem with additional regulation if they can get us to buy their product at gunpoint, and the SEIU gets 100 new bureaucracies whose budget can never be cut or "you're harming Grandma"!
Of course you have to talk like a conservative and tout the bill's budget neutrality. But this is achieved by (1) putting expenses in another bill, (2) planning to cut payments to doctors, which Congress has never done and had better not do, (3) delaying "benefits" for four years, as though we could trust you not to spend the money in the meantime. Budget neutrality is a lie, just like your position that insurance reimbursement for abortions is "pro-choice."
If you feel no risk to your re-election in voting for this awful and unpopular bill, we have lost our nation.
- Spike, Brentwood NH
Hey Shaheen....Answer one question "does the bill cover you?"...I didn't think so.
The worst governor this state ever had now serves us in Washington, 5 more years can't come soon enough!
- Mike, Epping
senator (lower case intended) Shaheen, in your words: "Today, we are closer than ever to ensuring that health care is within reach of all Americans."
What you fail to realize is that health care has ALWAYS been within reach of all Americans. If they can't afford routine medical care, they simply go to the Emergency Room and claim that they can't afford it. Care is still provided and paid for by...us. It's not health care that is unattainable by low-income and destitute Americans; it's health insurance.
So, why is health insurance so expensive and restrictive? Why not look to the root of the problem - LAWYERS - those cornerstones of your party Ms. Shaheen. Lawyers, through their greedy manipulation of the court system have managed to extract bloated, exorbitant and unrealistic jury awards for malpractice suits, which only raise physicians' and healthcare facilities' malpractice insurance premiums. These inflated premiums are passed through to consumers as increases in health care costs, which in turn result in increased health insurance premiums, which make coverage unattainable to low-income Americans.
So, instead of attacking the PROBLEM, you and your fellow "fools on the Hill" have attacked the majority millions of Americans who do not want this socialist piece of dung. We can only hope that the House-Senate conference committee cannot reach agreement and this travesty is banished to the congressional dustbin...once again.
Put some lawyers out of business: Think Tort Reform
- Whitey, Strafford
If this is such a good deal for everyone why did the Senator from Louisana need to be bought off with $300 million? If it is such a good deal why did the Senator from Nebraska need to be bought off?
Why did you not get a sweetheart deal for the taxpayers of New Hampshire Senator Shaheen? Why should we have to pay not only the increased costs for NH, but also the increased Medicare costs for Nebraska? You are not representing the best interests of NH when you follow the orders of Senator Reid of Nevada.
- Stephen Campbell, Salem
Senator, why not do the taxpayers a favor and turn AIG insurance operations into the nation's non profit healthcare provider of last resort. We own the place as taxpayers and Aetna successfully made the transition from a property causalty insurer to a health care insurer. They have underwriting, claims, actuary staff and systems infrastructure in place and a distribution network. We should get something from that bailout.
- paul needham, derry nh
Miss Shaheen the biggest obstacle to the middle class and even the lower class is your own party. Not to mention our way of life also. You vote to tax and spend and spend and tax. You grow government at an alarming rate and rob us of our freedoms and liberties along with our pay checks while ignoring waste, fraud and corruption in all the programs you run including this new push to take over our health care system.
You do not represent any thing I believe in or stand for in my daily life, but what is worse is you don't listen to those like my self who feel government is nothing more than a huge weight and burden on everything it touches with its regulations and red tape. I see our current leadership as arrogant as it gets and if those like my self rise up and shout you call us a bunch of kooks and go on your merry way doing what you please.
I am fast on my way to becoming the working poor and I only have my government to blame. Add on to that the unions tied to government I constantly have to pay for when never is the pay enough or the benefits enough, but because they vote for you they get handed their demands regardless of how it affects those like my self.
I'm willing to bet the health care system is in the shape it is in because of decades of government manipulation so we could simply get to this point of another government takeover. You touch, you break, and you take. Then you force it on us. And like this column you repeat the message as if it is accepted or the lie becomes truth.
There is not one thing you will ever do that represents my values and thanks for not listening again.
- Deb, Derry
Huge costs for New Hampshire, ensuring that income Tax you wanted years ago.
Nebraska gets medicaid funding for life.
No interstate competition.
No Tort reform.
Forcing Americans to purchase a product.
Exemptions for senate 'pets' (unions)
Less money for Medicare.
Irreversable 'death panel' advisory board.
...and all in your first year!
- Rachel, Exeter
This bill has me furious. Not because Congress is attempting to reform healthcare, it's much needed, but because Congress has stepped over the line with how they intend to pay for it. Apparently Congress' ability to tax isn't good enough. Now Senator, you and your pals in Washington have decided that you need to control our bank accounts. How dare you! Congress has the purview to regulate commerce, not dictate commerce! What else are you going to force us to purchase with OUR OWN MONEY Jeanne? If Congress wants UHC then use the vehicle to which you already have access to, taxation. Keep your grubby fingers out of our bank accounts!
- Todd Barbera, Atkinson
I wish Brendan could get straight answers for his questions from Senator Shaheen so we would all know the truth but dream on!
I was just wondering about the "perverse incentives" that doctors work for which seems to imply the physicians Ms Shaheen knows are dishonest. Too bad she doesn't get to know some physicians in her home state. (and that means a clinical physician, not a Dartmouth researcher)
The physicians I work with are honest, hardworking, truly care about their patients, and would not order extra tests unless forced into protecting their decisions from frivoulous lawsuits promoted by lawyer cronies with friends in Congress.
- jem, rye
I do agree with the senator that at least we are addressing the healthcare issue. I do not accept
*her facts that there are tens of thousands in NH so please provide the numbers.
* the gov't forcing me to buy insurance.
*the gov't providing health care.
* the gov't using my tax dollars to provide federally funded abortions.
So with the taxes starting next year and for 4 years we pay with nothing in return and when the program kicks in there still will be over 20M still uninsured.
So Jake/John, please spin these facts. Why not focus on tort reform, buying policies across state lines and protecting the existing conditions people. You do know the emperor took money form the pharmaceutical companies to block the import of drugs from Canada right? They all have to go boys!
- Ray, Raymond
All you nay-sayers forget that the current system is dysfunctional and non-sustainable.
This bill is a foundation, a start to change our health care delivery system. It is far from perfect, but it is a start.
The Republicans had their chance to change things when they controlled the White House and Congress and did nothing - no serious proposals were discussed at the time.
Thank you, Governor Shaheen!
- Charlie, Candia
Paul in Bedford, You claim to pay $700.00 a week for medical insurance? My folks are 76 & 80 and they don't pay that per month. You should shop around for a better deal.
This legislation does nothing to address the issue most working Americans have with insurance coverage.
- Ron, Manchester
Every time you post an editorial I am amazed at how unintelligent you are. Do you really believe the things you write? The fact of the matter is you and the other socialist who make up your caucus, on a purely partisan line, forced a horrific bill through the senate. It is a bureaucratic nightmare. This will be a long-term national disaster that our children will be trying to cope with 40 years from now. Your obsession with just passing anything to get a victory demonstrates a dereliction of your responsibility to the people of New Hampshire and our children. I am ashamed to have you as my senator.
- Mike, Dunbarton
"For decades, health care costs have threatened the stability of our nation's middle class, small businesses and economy."
Actually, for decades, the biggest threat to the middle class, small businesses, and the economy has been Congress. The people do not trust Congress with something as important as healthcare reform. The rush to ram this through and the wheeling and dealing to buy votes only makes us less trustful. This entire process is the wrong way to go about "reform".
- Tom Grinley, Bradford, NH
Thanks for watching out for the little guy Jeanne. Are you kidding me? We are moving at light spped towards socialism as lead by our democrat friends and they think at the end of the rainbow we will find eutopia.
30 million more insured........no more doctors to care for them.......rationing of health care via their socialist theme of addressing "collective action problems."
READ: "An Account of Collection Actions in Public Health" American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 99, No. 9, September 2009 (page 1583) and you will see their blueprint.
- Dave, Portsmouth
Like Harry Belafonte sang many years ago - "House built on a sand foundation will not stand, oh no!"
This 'foundation' is built on quicksand.
- Leo, Canterbury
Jeanne Shaheen is up to her neck in BS, all she was looking for is further her career by sticking it to the American people. She is nothing more than a radical LIBERAL. LIBERALISM = SOCIALISM=COMMUNISM its that simple JEANNE!
The american people didn't want this and YOU shoved down our throats. Its Liberal elitist like YOU that have destroyed this country with TOTAL disregard for the constitution! You represented youself and your LIBERAL party, NOT the voters.
I will NEVER vote for another DEMONRAT as long as I live and will do everything I can to refresh voters memories of how Shaheen SOLD US OUT for her own selfishness.
What were you promised JEANNE?
- Vic Wilson, Manchester
When you listen carefully to some of the arguments in the health care debate, you realize people are talking about sickness care, not health care.
We are an overweight nation with poor eating and exercise habits. An article in Newsweek earlier in 2009 estimated obesity health care costs at $174 billion a year.
When I was younger, I heard that the aging baby boomer generation, of which I am one, would be driving health care costs. Now obesity is driving and will continue to drive health care costs.
No plan, funding, proram or bill will fix poor diet and lack of exercise. And the debate here is not actually about body mass. It is about physical conditioning. If you come into the hospital 50 to 100 percent overweight, your respiratory and cardiovascular systems are in the ditch. Your treatment options or their success are limited. It is not the doctor or a procedure or a prescription that heals you. Your body heals you.
The Europeans sometimes have more success with their health care plans because their populations are in better shape.
If you are overweight and cannot walk up three flights of stairs and carry on a conversation, then you are part of the health care problem. Start fixing it by getting up off the couch and going for a walk.
- Thomas G. Eischeid, Courtland, VA
Garbage, corruption, control and Marxism...all we will be getting out of Congress.
- Melvin, Keene
First, this is The United States of America and that alone makes us the greatest Nation on this planet. And we have made it our quest to take care of the rest of the needy, including our own. This plan, althoug not the best, but a foundation to build on. Its tthe job of the Government to protect its people.
50 million Americans go uninsured, because the Insurance companies do not see a profit in the single person or he or she has a pre-exsting condition. And the risk is to high. Health cost, 700.00 per mounth, heart surgery 300,000 every 5 hours. Do the math, health care, big looser for the companies. We just put a stop to that, maybe?
And if anyone thinks that this is not needed, then you need to pull your head out of your a** and take a real good look at life. An uninsured person walks into a hospital and says I have no way to pay the bill and they get the same treatment that you get for free. Now. Who do you think pays that bill?
Get a grip boys and girls, we are on the threshold of a new era. Hold on tight, we are in for a ride.
- John, Candia
Woah.........the loons will be out in full force today. Great job Jeanne!! It's unfortunate that the lemmings who complain about this will be the ones who bennefit fromt this the most.
- Jake, Manchester
Hey Jeanne! Don't you worry about these naysayers. They don't understand just how efficient the government is when dealing with the health of its citizens.
I mean, you guys have done such a bang-up job with the H1N1 vaccines, that I just can't wait to see what you do to the supply of band-aids and aspirin.
To quote Milton Friedman: If the government were put in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there would be a shortage of sand.
- Jim D, Hillsboro
I suppose Senator Shaheen actually believes this. What I am looking at are the unintended consequences that will make this pork laden sausage of a bill a bad piece of legislation. I fear the loss of innovation that has made American Medicine the cutting edge of health care. I fear there will be "death Panels" despite the hollow denial of the bills supporters. Are we really giving health care access to millions? We are certainly reducing access to hundreds of millions. Government rarely, if ever, demonstrates that it can run a business better than those who have business experience. Government telling a business who it must serve or how much it must charge, how much it may pay its employees , this is the definition of facism, and the current democratic congress/administration is the most facist in my memory.
- jeff, goffstown
I can only be a benificiary of the health
care bill. My wife and I can buy decent
insurance, but it cost $35000 for us.
Why are we getting dinged? We are both mid fifties, only slightly overweight. However, we do not work for the public or a large company, therefore, insurance companies do not want you. However, Fatty and Smokey can work for the above mentioned, use lots and lots of health care, and pay far less, the only reason being WHO THEIR EMPLOYED BY not
HOW HEALTHY THEY ARE.
- Paul, Bedford
Thats "14" for Shaheen, sorry.
- Michael King, Epping
...and tort reform is where, Senator?
- Jim, Manchester
The Princess of Platitudes has once again championed legislation that will have exactly the opposite outcome of what she predicts. Costs will rise faster, care will get worse, resources will become scarcer and innovation will slow to a crawl.
A single payer system is certain to follow to save us from the mess this legislation will create.
- John, Manchester
What does Jeanne Shaheen know about small business? Why doesn't the Obama Adminstrtation cut Medicare Fraud and Waste without a bill? How does taxing medical benifits and services, how does that make health care more affordable? How does allowing Nebraska and certain counties in Florida not resposible for medicade and medicare payments how does that make Health care more affordable for the other states that now have to pickup the tab for the backroom deals made so that this bill would pass? How come tort reform isn't part of the deal? We gave up Sununu for this woman? You voted for "Hope & Change" we, can only Hope for Change, "10" & "12". Shaheen will be up in "16".
- Michael King, Epping
The Obama administration cannot keep us safe from terrorists, how can they promote forced health insurance on the public and claim all the goodies Shaheen writes about?
Shaheen is a registered Democrat, as is Obama, but in reality they are Marxists.
- Ken Klinedinst, Warner
There is no better term for the ObamaCare Bill than Despotism. It's all very well for Congressmen and Senators to look out for their states, but this bill is a pure transfer payment from hard working non-union workers to Democratic supporters.
There is built into the bill a 40% tax on the most comprehensive -- and thus most expensive -- health care plans: But it does not apply to everyone. Longshoremen, for instance, are exempt -- and of course their unions have negotiated some of the most comprehensive healthcare short of what Congress gets.
Other lines of work, nearly all heavily unionized, are exempt from the 40% tax (which will pretty well eliminate these plans for those who aren't exempt from the tax). Also, 17 States will be exempt; for the rest it's just too bad. There is no attempt at an explanation for these arbitrary transfers from those taxed to those not taxed. There is no logical reason why some are taxed and some are not. It's simply a set of earmarks, rewards to those supporting the "plan" and punishment for those who don't.
It's exactly what the Constitution was designed to prevent, a despotic transfer of wealth from one group to another.
Change you can believe in, Chicago Style.
- David, Keene
No matter what you write here, you are jamming a bill down our throats that we don't want.
- Steve, Pembroke
While I truly believe you have the best of intentions, I would like to ask the following questions.
How in the world do a bunch of people who do not understand the inner-workings of our healthcare system write and enact legislation that overhauls it? I'm not going to sit here and pretend that I'm a genius and that I know what is going to happen, but...
Can you prove this bill is really paid for, and...what do the people in the Congressional Budget Office know about healthcare that helps their prediction hold any weight what-so-ever?
Do you know how the changes are going to affect healthcare costs in reality? Do you really know? ...are you sure?
I'm not. Based on how the stimulus package went, I have absolutely no faith in our politicians working on anything to do with the economy. This isn't about Republican or Democrat. ...politicians. All of you.
Right now, the stimulus package is paying for some really great things like building a colony of robotic bees and several studies of the effects of drugs and alchohol on the body at various universities. ...yeah. As a taxpayer - that's my money paying for robotic bees. That's my money paying for college kids studying what single-malt liquor and marijuana does to their bodies.
I'm just wondering how you self-serving, good-for-nothing, legislation-rushing idiots are going to screw this one up.
I guess I'll wait and see. I wonder when Washington is going to remember that they were elected to represent the people. Right now, it appears that a good portion of the government seems to believe we elected them to represent their own needs, wants, ideals, projects, and whatever else.
- Brendan, Manchester
"It will prevent insurance companies from denying coverage to patients who have pre-existing conditions and will eliminate lifetime limits on coverage." So it looks like the rest of us will be getting the shaft by having higher premiums because our insurance companies will need to carry individuals who are high risk. How is this reform? Why should I have to pay more, while a chronic smoker gets a subsidized pass? This is nothing but an act of theft by Congress. With a $500 billion cut in medicare I hope you seniors are ready for a reduction of medicare related services, and higher medicare advantage premiums which is going to make the AARP a boatload of money. So much for Shaheen being against "special interest" groups.
- Don R., Exeter, NH
I agree with almost everything in this article except one thing. The bill will not extend Medicare's solvency. It won't weaken Medicare any further, but as the CBO has recently pointed out the money being saved in Medicare is being used to finance new programs to expand coverage, not to keep Medicare going for a few more years.
- Craig Miller, East Brunswick, NJ
So at any cost a new system is developed and what is broken in the current system wasn't fixed. Your ObamaCare for some people isn't close to as good as what you and other Congressional Rep's receive. Then there is the issue of buying votes at any cost to pass this 2,019 plus page bill that you and others did not even read. Socialized medical plans administered by governments haven't provided the quality and immediate care promised in any nation that has them. The socialized plans tested in the three USA states didn't work either. But you went ahead ignoring what we the people knew and told you. If the government could do a great job of health care then our Veterans would have historically received the best care from the time of injury on the field to their last day on this earth. Now we the people and those with disabled veterans know that isn't the case. The insurance companies biggest ill was that they supported Republications over Democrats. That is what you really tired to fix--trying to keep control of "we the peoples' government. Shame on you for being part of political polarization, creating a USA that is owned by foreign countries, creating a debt that will take generations to pay off, and causing all of us to pay higher taxes. CBO framed their words about the cost of Kennedy-Obama Care after being scolded by the President and without seeing the cost of all the deals made to pass the bill out of the Senate and all the pork that was attached to it.
Where is the article tooting all the value we the people are going to get from the raises you passed for yourselves that now gives you almost the same salary as the President of the USA. Want to talk about the balance of powers and the abuse of power and how you are fixing it?
The days have wained when you can put out such propaganda pieces and expect us not to call you on your self ingrandizement based on mis-statements.
- Jan, Londonderry, NH
This.....from the dolt who drove almost every medical insurance company out of NH when she was in office. Watching her getting her head handed to her in debate after debate with Sununu was still not enough for the public to understand that this individual really has no uderstanding about much of anything.
But she will vote the way Harry Reid wants, so I guess that's enough. Now watch all the Shaheen coat-holders come out here and defend her......it's good for a laugh.
- Jay Collins, Laconia
This bill requires all of us to buy overpriced for profit health insurance from our own funds. Rather like trying to solve homelessness by forcing everyone to take out a subprime mortgage
- Miriam, New York, NY
I'm willing to bet that my insurance/medical cost will once again rise much higher than any pay increase I might, notice I said might, get. No one wants to discuss why a hospital just south of the New Hampshire border, has to print "patient's rights" literature in nineteen different languages. I'll tell you why. Washington has decided to import the world's poor and take care of them at our expense. When they get treated and don't pay, we do. Oddly enough, these poor are used to help keep a lid on our wages, while at the same time, increasing our expenses. It has been a no win situation for Americans and will continue to be in spite of what we are told.
- Steve, Raymond
Michael Chioccola (front) and Gerald Gendron waited for the bus to leave Manchester, N.H., for Boston. (Mark Wilson for The Boston Globe)
"Reluctant road warriors: Many N.H. veterans face long rides to get care from VA"
By Brian MacQuarrie, Boston Globe Staff, May 16, 2011
MANCHESTER, N.H. — Thomas Bonenfant, a 68-year-old Army veteran from Rochester, said with a wry smile that he has “been through the grinder.’’ He was not referring to the VA medical procedures he had undergone.
For a biopsy and a battery of X-rays, Bonenfant needed to travel out of state to a veterans hospital in Boston. The cost: $60 for a driver to ferry him to North Station, then a subway trip to Forest Hills, and finally a bus connection to the VA facility in West Roxbury.
The time: a four-hour trip from the only state in the country without a full-service veterans hospital.
Bonenfant is one of many ailing New Hampshire veterans who have become reluctant road warriors. Every month, an average of 312 men and women pick up a shuttle at the Manchester VA Medical Center to ride to the Boston veterans hospitals in West Roxbury and Jamaica Plain for joint replacement, cardiac surgery, pain management, and a gamut of other procedures.
“It is unconscionable that our veterans must board shuttles to Massachusetts or Vermont to get the medical care they have been promised in exchange for their service,’’ said US Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat who has filed a bill with Senator Kelly Ayotte, her Republican counterpart, to require a full-service Veterans Affairs hospital in New Hampshire or contracts for comparable services.
Bonenfant made his own arrangements to reach Boston, but many veterans take a free daily shuttle from the Manchester VA Medical Center that leaves by 8 a.m. and sometimes does not return until 9 p.m. The days are long, the bus seats can be uncomfortable, and some veterans are in constant pain during a trip that is often snarled by traffic.
“This is something that has been an issue since I was governor,’’ said Shaheen, who served in that position from 1997 to 2003. “For a lot of people, that’s a real hardship.’’
The inconvenience has reached a point, said Ray Boucher, a volunteer transportation coordinator, that some veterans are forgoing medical treatment rather than take a grueling trip to Boston.
“I feel for these guys,’’ said Boucher, 60, who is affiliated with the Disabled American Veterans. “They’re getting to the point where they don’t want to go down there any more.’’
Boucher, whose volunteers bring veterans from their homes to the Manchester VA Medical Center for appointments, also had been delivering riders who connected to the Boston shuttle. No more. Because his drivers were responsible for their riders, Boucher said, they sometimes waited 12 hours or more until the shuttle returned from Boston to Manchester.
As a result, the Disabled American Veterans decided that Boston-bound patients would need to reach Manchester on their own and arrange for a ride home. “It bothers me because I get calls every day from people who want the service,’’ Boucher said.
One morning last week, veterans who waited for the shuttle to Boston, several of them holding canes, praised the care they receive in Manchester and its five outpatient clinics around the state. But they also agreed they would prefer to stay in New Hampshire.
“It would be much better if they had the service up here,’’ said Gerald Gendron, 67, of Manchester, an Army veteran with lip cancer. “But it’s the only game in town, so you have to go where the game is.’’
The Manchester VA medical center, built in 1960, was downsized from a full-service facility in 1999 for financial reasons. The demand for on-site acute care had decreased, said Dr. Marc Levenson, the hospital’s medical director. The VA contracts with Concord (N.H.) Hospital to treat veterans with acute-care problems such as heart failure, pneumonia, or sepsis, but also sends about one-quarter of such patients out of state. Over the last 12 months, 2,741 cases in New Hampshire were referred to Boston veterans hospitals, VA officials said. That figure dipped 15.6 percent from the previous year. New Hampshire’s 136,000 veterans include 55,000 who are at least 65 years old.
Levenson said the VA has tried to minimize the travel burden. In addition to the primary-care clinics, he said that the VA has added pain management, neurology, ophthalmology, and other services at Manchester. “It’s sort of a work in progress,’’ Levenson said.
Shaheen, who called the arrangement with Concord Hospital “a great step forward,’’ added that “more needs to be done.’’
Under the legislation, the Veterans Affairs Administration would be given the flexibility to either expand the medical center or choose the most cost-effective way to provide comparable services. Many veterans advocates believe that an expanded hospital in Manchester is not economically feasible.
For Barry Conway, commandant of the State Veterans Home in Tilton, one option would be to provide veterans a government-issued card that could be presented for care at any hospital in the state. “I think we can produce a better widget, I really do,’’ Conway said.
The need for in-state treatment will remain important as veterans return from Iraq and Afghanistan, said Peter Burdett, chairman of the State Veterans Advisory Committee.
“We’re trying to have the VA hospital have a larger footprint in the state to provide every veteran with the care that they need inside the state,’’ Burdett said. Under the current system, he said, “that’s a lot of veterans put through a lot of discomfort.’’
Brian MacQuarrie can be reached at email@example.com.
- Jonathan Melle
- Amherst, NH, United States
- I am a citizen defending the people against corrupt Pols who only serve their Corporate Elite masters, not the people! / My 2 political enemies are Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr., nicknamed "Luciforo" and former Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr. / I have also pasted many of my political essays on "The Berkshire Blog": berkshireeagle.blogspot.com / I AM THE ANTI-FRANK GUINTA! / Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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