Healthcare

Senators Collins and King did not put Maine first in ObamaCare debate

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Those elected to represent the people of Maine have a responsibility to prioritize the needs of our state. But Maine’s Senators do not put Mainers first.

The people who elected Senators King and Collins are already facing fewer insurers, higher premiums and soaring out-of-pocket costs. But the Senators killed any effort to reform ObamaCare and provide Mainers with affordable health insurance.

Senator Collins falsely claimed that “Maine would lose $2 billion over the next 10 years and billions more after that.” Although some states would have seen a decrease in future funding, Maine would not.

Funding in Maine would have increased by 43 percent—and we would have had the flexibility to spend more on Medicaid, if necessary.

Senator Collins also claimed that “Premiums would have increased.” But ObamaCare premiums have increased dramatically, and they are still rising. One insurance carrier has already left the Maine market. Two are still here, but one asked to raise premiums by 40 percent and the other by 20 percent.

The Graham-Cassidy bill would have given states the flexibility to establish their own insurance regulations. This would have allowed the return of Maine’s successful insurance reform law, PL 90.

PL 90 decreased Mainers’ premiums by 20 percent on average before ObamaCare forced us to shelve it. Senator Collins also claimed that “People with pre-existing conditions would not have been adequately protected.” Again, this is not true for her home state.

In Maine, state law in the late 1980s and again in the 1990s mandated coverage of pre-existing conditions. No one in Maine would have lost this coverage.

Senator Collins is so busy trying to stop President Trump’s agenda on the national stage, she is out of touch with her own state. She puts other states ahead of the people she is supposed to represent.

Senator King and Representative Pingree also agree that the federal government’s one-size-fits-all approach is better than giving states the authority to manage programs tailored to their own populations.

Representative Poliquin was the only member of our delegation who voted to end the disaster of ObamaCare. While Senator Collins was seeking the national spotlight and Senator King was trying to put lobster icons on cell phones, Representative Poliquin was putting the needs of Mainers first.

The failure by Senators Collins and King to reform ObamaCare opens the door for Mainers to vote next month on another expansion of Medicaid for able-bodied people who should be working and contributing to the cost of their health care.

When Angus King expanded Medicaid in 2002, we ended up with a $750 million debt to our hospitals. We faced massive budget shortfalls, a waitlist for people with intellectual disabilities and low reimbursement rates for nursing homes.

Senators Collins and King want you to pay for free health care for able-bodied people. It will cost the Maine people $500 million over the next 5 years. As I always say, “free” is expensive to somebody.

Instead of working in Washington, D.C. to benefit other states, our Senators should be protecting the paychecks and the health of the people back home.

About Paul LePage

Governor Paul LePage (R) has served as the 74th Governor of Maine since 2011. Prior to his time as governor, LePage served as the general manager of Marden’s and as the mayor of Waterville.

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