- Associated Press - Monday, February 27, 2017

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Republican Gov. Chris Sununu said Monday he’s told President Donald Trump that any replacement of the health care law should still require insurers to cover substance abuse treatment.

Sununu spoke with Trump while in Washington this weekend for a gathering of the nation’s governors and for meetings with the administration, he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. Health care and the opioid crisis emerged as key topics during weekend discussions, with the governors engaging the administration on plans to repeal and replace the health care law. Sununu said he spoke with Trump privately Sunday.

“I have no doubt this administration is going to put out a very solid plan for America in the coming weeks,” Sununu said.

Sununu said he’s told Trump and Vice President Mike Pence that any reform should ensure that people suffering from drug addiction can get insurance coverage for treatment. New Hampshire has seen one of the highest spikes in drug overdose deaths in the country in recent years.

“We talked about that very specifically with the president and the vice president, and we’ll be fighting hard to make sure that those types of assurance are kept as part of the final plan,” he said.

Medicaid expansion was also a key point of discussion among governors. About 50,000 low-income New Hampshire residents are insured under the program. Sununu said that New Hampshire’s Medicaid expansion population will still need to be covered “in some fashion,” and that he and other governors discussed ways for restructuring and paying for the program.

Also while in Washington, Sununu met with Veterans Administration Secretary David Shulkin; Linda McMahon of the Small Business Administration; and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, whom he invited to visit schools in New Hampshire.

Sununu, who took office in January, called his new gubernatorial colleagues bright and energized.

“My notepad was very thick by the end of three days,” he said.

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