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Legislative Report, Week 4 • Rep. Rick Holman, Feb. 1, 2013

Gary Peterson, Joel Halvorson & Gary Thompson of Traill  Water Resource stopped for a chat before heading back home after a day of testimony on Senate Bills.

February 2, 2013
Legislative Report for Week 4
Rep. Rick Holman, ND District 20

Saturday, February 9th, at 9:00 a.m., we will have our second Legislative Coffee at the Country Hearth Restaurant in Hillsboro.

See our full schedule and other reports at our Web Page: http://d20team or  on Facebook: District20Team .

The Joint Human Services Hearing this week on the Medicaid Expansion brought an interesting twist. HB1362, sponsored by Republican Leader Al Carlson mirrors what is in the Governor’s budget proposal adapting to the Affordable Care Act.  Usually the prime sponsor of a bill supports it, but, in this case, Rep. Carlson spoke in opposition.  His surprisingly abrasive testimonial seemed to speak more to his caucus members rather than to the entirety of the 20 member joint committee. 

Carlson made the argument that the state has “better options” than Medicaid expansion but none were presented. Following that, a wide range of experts, including BCBS, AARP, and the ND Hosp. Assn. presented statistical, ethical and logical support for the expansion. In response to Rep. Carlson suggesting “better options”, the Public Policy Director for Mental Health America (ND) pointed out, “There aren’t any alternatives!”  Not only were no other options presented; all testimonials given after Rep. Carlson’s introduction supported Medicaid expansion and reminded committee members that it would allow services for the most deprived group of North Dakotans who have never been offered insured access to needed healthcare.

Failing to pass Medicaid expansion would leave nearly 40,000 adults and children with incomes below the  poverty level without coverage, allow bad debt to continue to accumulate in our hospitals, and oblige the state and those with insurance to continue to cover the cost of uncompensated care for clinic and hospital providers. The idea of a scaled-down alternative to Medicaid expansion is simply a method to avoid acceptance of the Affordable Care Act which is the law. His alternative would allow the ND State Legislature to set the extent of coverage, define individual eligibility limits, and detail which services will be provided. The end result would have the effect of limiting or refusing healthcare to those most in need ultimately raising costs for all of us through lack of preventive care.

In House floor sessions we continue to vote on a wide variety of issues with many not receiving enough votes to move on to the Senate after crossover. A couple of important successful actions, however, were the immediate action on SB 2176 for 700 million in road funds and another HB 1269, supporting the expansion of rural water systems allowing the planning and bidding process to begin and work to begin this summer.  Once the Senate and the Governor approve, these important projects can proceed.

Visitors this week were from the Traill Water Board, CEO’s of our local Nursing homes, EMT’s and Viet Nam Veterans.   Our schedule is usually full, so let us know when you’re coming so we can find a time to visit.
Rep. Rick Holman.   701.238.1124            rholman@nd.gov              rholman111@gmail.com

__________________________________
Rick Holman
622 153rd Ave NE,
Mayville, ND 58257-9000
701.238.1124   701.788.2081
Aristotle says, “Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach.”

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