News Column

DNC Chairwoman to Visit NH for Health Care Panel

March 13, 2012

Jim Haddadin

Health care staff

The head of the Democratic National Committee will visit the Granite State this week to make the case that women are reaping benefits from President Obama's health care legislation.

On Thursday DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz will participate in a panel discussion about how the Affordable Care Act has benefited women in New Hampshire. The event takes place at the Portsmouth headquarters of Obama For America, the president's campaign organization, which is located at 125 Brewery Lane. Doors open to the public at 9:15 a.m.

After being approved by a narrow margin on March 23, 2010, the Affordable Care Act has proved among the most controversial pieces of legislation advanced by the president, helping to galvanize Republican opposition.

Obama for America is hosting some 40 grassroots events across the state in the coming weeks to highlight the merits of the health care bill.

"In the two years since the president signed these important health reforms into law, millions of Americans have already experienced the benefits," OFA staffer Holly Shulman wrote in an email. "Medicare is now stronger for seniors, and women can now get life-saving mammograms at no extra cost."

Children who were born with pre-existing conditions such as asthma won't lose their health care coverage, and New Hampshire families are seeing how the Affordable Care Act is saving money but also saving lives."

Among the panelists joining Wasserman Schultz will be New Castle resident Mary Rauh and Lindsay Hanson, director of '08 Women for Obama New Hampshire. Panelists will recount their personal health care experiences to illustrate "what's at stake for women in this election," according to an announcement.

The discussion will also touch on controversial developments this year in the New Hampshire Legislature, which Democrats argue would limit women's access to health care. One such measure is a bill that allows employers with religious objections to exclude contraceptive coverage from their health plans. Dozens of women gathered at the Statehouse last week to demonstrate against the bill, which was passed by the Republican-controlled House on 196-150 vote.

House Speaker William O'Brien began championing the exemption after the federal government issued a rule requiring health insurance companies to provide contraceptives to employees of religious organizations. He accused President Barack Obama of using the issue to woo women to vote for him in November.

The measure's fate in the Senate is uncertain, and Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, has not said if he would veto the bill.

This week, the N.H. House is expected to vote on three controversial bills related to abortion. One would ban partial-birth abortions, already prohibited under federal law. Another would change a requirement when a minor seeks permission to have an abortion without notifying her parents. In those cases, a judge must issue a ruling within 48 hours. The bill, a proposed amendment to New Hampshire's two-month-old parental notification law, would change that requirement to within two court business days.

A third bill requires women to wait 24 hours and be given information on fetal development before they can undergo an abortion.

To RSVP for Thursday's event, visit and click on "Attend an Event," or send an email to

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Source: (c) 2012 the Foster's Daily Democrat (Dover, N.H.)

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