NH News
8:50 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Live Blog: Rep. Kuster On The Exchange

9:43: Kuster on voting for proposed cut to military retiree benefits in budget, “Not a perfect bill…but I thought it was significant advancement for the country to have a bipartisan budget.” Kept the government open and moving forward. “I have supported the repeal of the cut to military retirees.” Republicans talk a lot about deficit and debt; “we have to make decisions.”

9:40: Kuster on legalizing marijuana, “I tend to lean toward this being a state issue.” Following the debate here in New Hampshire; should be something that has broad support. “I have some concerns personally about it;” but I don’t want to see our prisons filled with people arrested for small amounts. Should watch it play out in other states and see what can be learned.

9:33: Kuster on Social Security, lifting the cap of withholding of wages is critical. On Medicare, prescription drug issue is one of the most important. “This is an industry where you can negotiate prices.” 

9:30: Kuster on her vote on farm bill, “We need to have agricultural policy in this country going forward.” Republicans wanted even deeper cuts. “Throughout this process, I’ve been working with people in the House that fight for these nutritional programs.” No child should go to bed hungry, go to school hungry. The cut in final version of farm bill won’t affect New Hampshire. “There’s a lot of pressure on the budget.”

9:28: Kuster on her voting record, “I would say I’m one of the strongest supporters of the president in the entire Congress.” It’s fair to say New Hampshire has had some challenges with the rollout of the ACA; I want to make sure it’s a smooth transition. Need to make sure businesses can keep people employed.

9:23: Kuster on perception of Congress, “I knew when I ran for Congress that it’s a dysfunctional institution.” I want to make change; one of the changes is civility. “It’s certainly not perfect…I was disillusioned as anyone in October during the government shutdown.” I see a glimmer of hope in that we’ve passed a bipartisan budget, the farm bill and the recent vote on raising the debt ceiling.

9:21: On changes to the ACA, Kuster says wanted to see more buy in across the country. “The number of states not engaging…has made it a more difficult rollout.” No excuses for the issues with the website. “This is a very, very big change for our country.” We will look back on it being a significant change that will control costs over time. I support increased access to affordable healthcare. “We could not afford the direction we were on.”

9:15: Kuster on the narrow network, New Hampshire has always had issue where Anthem is the dominant provider. She supports president in delay of small business mandate for a year. 

9:13: Kuster on the ACA’s impact on small businesses, says she wants to work on bringing down the cost; the law focuses on quality, not quantity. “I think New Hampshire will be in a better position in 2015 when we have greater competition in our marketplace. “

9:11: On ACA, Kuster says, “I’m dead set against repeal,” but I do think there are some changes that can be made. Concerned about impact on small businesses; the issue specifically about what is the length of a workweek. The law cites 30 hours; “some companies find that be an onerous burden.” Also reexamining what defines a small business. “But we’re not going back.”

Rep. Ann McLane Kuster at the NHPR studio in Concord.
Credit NHPR / Michael Brindley

9:10: Kuster on supporting reinstating previously restricted coverage, “This was the transition. It’s just for one year.” I want to make sure people have access; as few people being dislocated by this change.

9:09: On Affordable Care Act, Kuster says, “The important part…is to make sure families have as smooth a transition as possible.” Have supported various reforms to make sure people have chance to make that transition; it’s a complex system, it’s not going to change overnight. My goal is to increase access to high-quality healthcare. “This is not a perfect bill…the roll out was a disaster.” By end of March, enrollment should be at 40,000 in New Hampshire. “We’re talking about thousands of people who didn’t have access before.”

We'll be live blogging as 2nd District Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster appears on The Exchange this morning.

The live blog will begin at 9 a.m.

Call in with your questions at (800) 842-6477 or by email at exchange@nhpr.org.