New Futures' Statement on House Budget
HOUSE-PASSED BUDGET FAILS TO MEET THE HEALTH NEEDS OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
CONCORD, NH – This morning, the New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a state budget proposal for Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023. In response, Michele Merritt, President and CEO of New Futures, New Hampshire’s leading health policy, and advocacy organization, released the following statement:
“Simply put, the budget approved today by the House of Representatives comes up short in meeting the public health needs of the Granite State,” Merritt said. “While the budget proposal does include needed funding for some public health priorities, including children’s behavioral health services and higher Medicaid reimbursement rates for health care providers, it fails to address the full needs of Granite State families as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Specifically, this budget proposal does not invest sufficiently in critical areas like Family Resource Centers and primary prevention programs, tobacco prevention and cessation, and student loan repayment for healthcare professionals. Further, harmful provisions to abolish the enforcement division of the Liquor Commission, to defund essential reproductive health providers, and to ban dissemination of certain ‘divisive concepts’ like unconscious bias related to sex and race threaten to undermine the health of our state for years to come.
“We are relieved and grateful that the Governor and Senate leaders have voiced their concerns over the House budget, and we look forward to working with them to ensure the adoption of a healthy state budget that invests meaningfully in behavioral health prevention, treatment, and recovery programs; children's behavioral health services; and early childhood supports, among other areas.”
Areas of concern within House budget:
- No additional funding for Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program, Student Loan Repayment, Family Resource Centers, an Adult Immunization Program, or to provide community health workers to Public Health Networks, critical New Futures' Five-Point Plan initiatives.
- Devastating cuts to Health and Human Services: “Back of the budget” cuts of $50 million and eliminations of 226 positions over the biennium to the Health and Human Services Department.
- Dangerous elimination of liquor enforcement designed to ensure public health and safety, essentially abolishing the NH Liquor Commission Division of Liquor Enforcement and Licensing by eliminating 21 law enforcement positions in HB 1 and renaming the Bureau to “Licensing and Education”.
- Harmful ban on the propagation of concepts related to sex and race (language from HB 544). From a public health standpoint, there is clear evidence that inequities and disparities disproportionately affect people of color and women. However, if we can’t talk about the facts and that health disparities exist, we can’t solve the problem.
- Defunding of essential health care providers, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) and independent abortion providers and slashing access to birth control, STD testing and treatment, and other essential health care.
New Futures is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that advocates, educates, and collaborates to improve the health and wellness of all New Hampshire residents. Last fall, New Futures released its Five-Point Plan for a Healthy State Budget. Learn more at www.New-Futures.org.