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Cutler embraces socialized health care; hints at book deal

Eliot Cutler of Cape Elizabeth

Eliot Cutler of Cape Elizabeth

In a Thursday op-ed for the Bangor Daily News, unenrolled candidate for governor Eliot Cutler suggested that Maine should adopt a government-run health care system. The candidate, who finished second to Republican Gov. Paul LePage in 2009, also hinted at a forthcoming book.

Cutler, seeming to misunderstand the Affordable Care Act and the issue of Medicaid expansion, wrote that accepting federal funds to expand the medical welfare program would allow Maine to establish a universal, government-run health care system. He wrote, “Senseless partisanship led Maine to leave on the table hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds under the Affordable Care Act. These funds would have provided coverage to 70,000 Mainers and could be used to plan a new universal health care system right here in Maine.”

While running against partisanship is essential for a candidate who has chosen not to align formally with a party, Cutler misses the mark on Medicaid expansion.

Any funds delivered to Maine pursuant to an expansion of the state’s medical welfare program would fund that expansion — and nothing more. Maine has zero flexibility in determining how that money is used. In other words, Obamacare does not offer some free-money slush fund to finance Cutler’s (or the out Democrats) whimsical plans for universal health care in Maine. (In fact, expanding medical welfare in Maine would cost Mainers more than $150 million annually after promised federal funding falls off.)

The op-ed goes on to list some principles of health care reform. Interestingly, the candidate suggests that patients and providers alike should have “skin in the game.” The notion that health care consumers should bear some of the cost and responsibility of their health care decisions is laudable, indeed; but it is perfectly opposed to Cutler’s desire to expand Medicaid — a program in which users have zero “skin in the game.”

Most interestingly, Cutler’s byline tells that the forgoing op-ed has been adapted from a forthcoming book, meaning Cutler is preparing to follow in the footsteps of Maine’s last unaffiliated governor, Sen. Angus King, who also penned a book in order to bolster his campaign.

Cutler’s last book, Solving Airport Noise Problems: Lessons from Denver (and Minneapolis), was published in 1986.

Read his full op-ed here.

S.E. Robinson
MaineWire Reporter

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