NH Dem Hodes critizes GOP Senate rival over her support for repealing health care reforms

By Norma Love, AP
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

NH Dem criticizes GOP Senate foe on health care

CONCORD, N.H. — The Democrat running for Senate in New Hampshire said Wednesday his Republican rival is being hypocritical when she attacks health care reforms that provide coverage to uninsured Americans.

U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes pointed out that former Attorney General Kelly Ayotte enjoyed the benefits of taxpayer subsidized health care as a state employee, but doesn’t support similar coverage for others.

Ayotte argues the health care law pushed through Congress by Democrats should be repealed. She believes the private market should be in charge, not government.

But Hodes said that would hurt people like Gail O’Brien of Keene who was uninsured and facing expensive cancer treatments. O’Brien, 52, said Wednesday she now has coverage thanks to the reform law. She was able to get coverage under a provision providing coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

“I don’t think that anybody understands that has insurance how important it is to make sure that all Americans are insured. We are all Americans and we need to stand together and help each other,” said O’Brien, a preschool teacher.

O’Brien said she spent about $20,000 on tests that diagnosed her with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in March. She said her new insurance covered her chemotherapy and she is almost done with radiation.

Hodes said he voted for health care reforms because of people like O’Brien.

“Kelly Ayotte thinks it’s OK for her to get subsidized health care and to have help from a government body to have health care but it’s not OK for Gail O’Brien,” Hodes said in a conference call with reporters.

Ayotte spokesman Jeff Grappone said Hodes is grasping for straws.

“There’s a major difference between Hodes’ push for government-run health care and a state worker’s employer-sponsored health benefits,” he said.

Grappone said the health care reforms are a government takeover that will result in higher costs, higher premiums and higher federal deficits.

Recent polls have shown Ayotte leading Hodes in the race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Judd Gregg.

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