NASHUA BULLETIN          February 24, 2016
Bulletin No. 7
Welcome to the Chamber's weekly legislative newsletter, The Advocate!  This newsletter is our recap of what happened in Concord each week during the legislative session, and a preview of what is coming up in the following week that pertains to various business interests. Although we will be letting you know about legislation that we think is of note, don't hesitate to tell us about bills that you may be familiar with and which you think are worth our review. We exist to serve you, our members.

House Finance Committee Looks at Health Protection Program Reauthorization  (HB 1696)
One of the biggest events last week was the House Finance Committee's hearing on HB 1696, the bill to reauthorize the New Hampshire Health Protection Program (NHHPP).  As you know, the Chamber supports this important legislation.

The issue that seemed to be most on the minds of the members of the Finance Committee was the proposed funding source needed to trigger the Federal match to finance the NHNPP if it's reauthorized. That source is voluntary contributions from hospitals and insurance companies. At question is whether using that would indeed mean a net savings rather than a net increase in the costs of health insurance.

From the testimony at the hearing, it seems pretty clear that the result of ending the NHHPP by not reauthorizing it would be increased upward pressure on health insurance costs.

Steve Ahnen, the President of the New Hampshire Hospital Association, told the Committee that last year, the state's hospitals saw a savings of $142,000,000, the amount of care provided to the nearly 50,000 people covered under the NHHPP whose costs would previously have been unreimbursed.  NHHA also argued that the defeat of HB 1696 would not be fiscally responsible, because that would leave hundreds of millions of dollars on the table in Washington. Medical are is going to be provided to those 50,000 regardless of the reauthorization and it is going to have to be paid for somehow. Without the federal match, it would end up being paid for through increases in health insurance premiums.

Next week, the House Finance Committee will hold two further work sessions to study the bill, and then the Committee will vote on the recommendation that it is going to make to the full House for the final House vote on the bill. The Chamber is urging all Greater Nashua-area House members to vote in favor of HB 1696, because the bill is an important way of creating a restraint on health insurance cost increases.

More Pipeline (HB 1109)
The saga of the attempts to stop the Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline continued last week, with a hearing on HB 1109 in front of the House Judiciary Committee.  This particular bill would require that any offer for the purchase of property to be taken by eminent domain in order to help construct the natural gas pipeline must be no less than 300 percent of the fair market value of the property. 

As you know, the Chamber opposes all of the bills that are designed to stop the pipeline or to create additional obstacles to construction of the pipeline. We also feel strongly that there is already a robust process for review and approval of the pipeline, and for any eminent domain situations that might arise. We think those processes and protections should be allowed to do their jobs and that the legislature should not change the rules in mid-stream. And with regard to the specifics of this legislation, we cannot support driving up the cost of any energy project so precipitously.

Legislative Break
This week, the House and Senate are on their annual and well-deserved one-week winter break. The next issue of The Advocate will be on March 4th.  For those of you who are observing the school vacation week, enjoy it while it lasts!

Tracy Hatch
President & CEO
Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce 
Sponsored by
Devine Millimet

In This Issue
Quick Links
Find your State Representative

Search for Legislation
Find Your Local State Senator
Read Past Issues
February 12th, 2016
February 5th, 2016 
January 29th, 2016 
January 22nd, 2016 
January 15th, 2016
January 11th, 2016
Read Last Session's Updates
Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce | (603) 881-8333 |
142 Main St., 5th Floor
Nashua, NH 03060

Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce | 142 Main St. | 5th Floor | Nashua | NH | 03060