Inside Augusta

Maine Democrats: LePage is a murderer

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The Democratic activist group Maine People’s Alliance is calling Gov. Paul LePage and Republican lawmakers killers for opposing a bill to expand Medicaid.

“157. Number of Mainers estimated to die this year if Gov. LePage and the Legislature fail to accept federal health care funds,” screams the landing page of a new MPA-funded website, 157Mainers.com.

Within hours of the website coming online, the Maine Democratic Party, the Maine Center for Economic Policy (a Democratic think tank) and liberals across the state rushed to endorse the harsh message on social media.

mike tipping

Mike Tipping, blogger and spokesman of the Maine People’s Alliance

The website links to a HealthAffairs.org blog post which estimates adverse outcomes it claims would be avoided under the proposed expansion of Medicaid, known in Maine as MaineCare. The website predicts a high estimate of 157 deaths and a low of 31 deaths.

Those mortality estimates are, in turn, based on research papers from 2009 and 2012.

The tactic – calling a political official with whom you disagree about health care policy a murderer – has been used by Democratic activists in other states within the context of Obamacare debates.

In Pennsylvania, the liberal activist group Keystone Progress runs a website titled, TomCorbettKilled4PeopleToday.com. The website states, “284 – Total estimated number of deaths since January 1, 2014 because Tom Corbett won’t allow the expansion of Medicaid in Pennsylvania.”

That website links to the same sources as the MPA’s website.

Maine Sen. Angus King also used a similar tactic in regard to Obamacare. Last September, King told Salon.com that conservative opponents of the president’s health care law, such as Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, are “guilty of murder.

The Maine People’s Alliance is a 501(c)4 nonprofit that has endorsed Rep. Michael Michaud’s gubernatorial campaign and has made political expenditures on his behalf via a political action committee.

The Democratic attack website goes live as Maine’s Senate prepares to vote on Medicaid expansion legislation Wednesday afternoon.

UPDATE: Liberal University of Maine professor Amy Fried has expressed her agreement with MPA’s belief that LePage and Republican lawmakers are or will be murderers if they don’t implement a health care policy she has consistently advocated for in her BDN blog. “Read the research,” Fried wrote on The Maine Wire’s Facebook page Wednesday morning. “It’s very clear that lack of expansion is associated with preventable deaths.”

The professor, who typically advocates for civility in political dialogue, did not condemn the Democratic activists’ harsh rhetoric. According to UMaine payroll records available at MaineOpenGov.org, Fried’s taxpayer-funded annual salary is more than $80,000 plus a comprehensive benefits package worth nearly $40,000.

UPDATE: The Maine Democratic Party and Ericka Dodge, communications director for Maine Senate President Justin Alfond (D-Portland), joined the chorus of Democrats who are calling people with whom they disagree about health care policy murderers. On Wednesday morning, the Maine Democrats and Dodge both changed their Twitter profile picture to an icon that includes a link to the MPA’s attack website.

About Steve Robinson

Steve Robinson is the former editor of The Maine Wire and currently producer for the Howie Carr Show. Follow him on Twitter @Stevie_Rob or send him an email at Steve@HowieCarrShow.com.

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