It looks like the subcommittees of the General Court’s Joint Task Force on the Response to the Heroin and Opioid Epidemic in New Hampshire have completed their work. Final recommendations to the task force were made yesterday as lawmakers recommended expediting legislation that will require all who prescribe drugs to use the state’s prescription drug monitoring program. Specifically, the legislation would require all prescribers to review the histories of those patients who are receiving opioid prescriptions. Senate Majority Leader and Task Force Chairman Senator Jeb Bradley said quote
“By increasing the use of the PDMP, prescribers will have a clearer understanding of a patient’s opioid usage level and other opioid prescriptions their patient may be receiving which will help minimize overprescribing.”
The Task Force, whose members have been working on various subcommittees known as divisions, will meet as a whole to review the recommendations of those divisions and finalize the recommendations that will be made to the General Court.
Another interesting meeting of the Hooksett Budget Committee took place last night. Last week, the committee voted five to four to cut one million dollars from the proposed school budget. As last night’s meeting began, committee member John Peroni stated that because the committee didn’t vote to accept the school board’s budget, which increased spending by well more than the million dollars cut, it couldn’t be cut. The committee subsequently corrected the procedural flaw by voting to accept the school board’s proposed budget, after which committee member David Pearl again motioned to reduce the budget by the aforementioned million dollars. This time, the motion it passed on a vote of eight to three, with Peroni, Kevin Van Horn and Amy Boilard, the school board’s representative on the committee, opposed.
On the agenda for the evening’s meeting was the presentation of the school budget by the school board and district administrators. Before that got underway, Boilard tried to scuttle the presentation, questioning why they should present after the board had already cut the budget. Given every school principal and all of the district’s directors were sitting in the audience, that didn’t go over well. Confusion reigned during an hour long discussion before School Superintendent Charles P. Littlefield asked for a five minute break, which was granted but not before Pearl, a former school board member, warned Littlefield against conferring with a quorum of the school board, whose members were present, as doing so would constitute holding meeting without public notice. Needless to say, the school budget presentation was eventually given. The committee will meet again next week to continue its discussions on the school budget, which remains at this time a million dollars lower than requested, but still higher than the current budget.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Community Health Options, one of the just five ObamaCare providers in New Hampshire, suddenly called it quits on the program this week. The Maine based health insurance co-op cited the punishing high cost of providing coverage as the reason it will no longer participate in the program. Earlier this year, M C H O had asked for rate increases of up to twenty two percent.
Following the announcement, Governor Margaret Wood Hassan, who has been a staunch supporter of ObamaCare, was taken to task by the Washington, D C. based America Rising PAC, saying she expressed no concern when providers announced premium hikes of up to fifty one percent earlier in the year and reminded us that just eighteen months ago, Hassan issued a statement praising Community Health Options for joining the exchange saying it was quote “fantastic news that will improve affordability and increase choices.” Hassan’s statement went on to say quote “Bringing additional competition to our Health Insurance Marketplace is a critical component of our effort to bring quality, affordable health coverage to all Granite Staters.”
Amelia Chasse, spokeswoman for America Rising issued a statement saying, quote: “Just over a year later, the exact opposite is true; Granite Staters have fewer choices and higher costs, just in time for the holidays.” She hammered Hassan saying quote
“Governor Hassan’s support for ObamaCare has resulted in broken promise after broken promise, yet she continues to prioritize her Party’s failed agenda over New Hampshire citizens who are losing their coverage and paying punishingly high costs. This latest ObamaCare failure exposes Governor Hassan’s utter lack of leadership and solutions for Granite Staters.”
A reminder that the Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce will host G O P presidential hopeful Senator Rand Paul as its guest speaker today at the Halligan Tavern in downtown Derry. Paul is appearing as part of the chamber’s New Hampshire Primary Series, which hosts presidential candidates from both parties to provide an opportunity to rub elbows. The event is free of charge and seating is limited. If any are still available, you can register at g d l chamber dot org. By the way, it’s a lunch meeting that gets underway at Noon.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next.