Archive for June 1st, 2013

Weekly Democratic Address by Rep. Drew Gattine (Westbrook): URGE GOVERNOR TO ACCEPT FEDERAL HEALTH CARE DOLLARS

Posted on June 1, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

Audio link here.

drew gattineWhen I’m out and about in my community, I meet a lot of hard-working Maine people – Mainers who put in an honest day’s work every day but can’t afford health insurance. This week, Maine got more great news about how 70,000 of our friends and neighbors can gain the security of health care coverage.

Good morning. I’m Representative Drew Gattine of Westbrook.

I’d like to talk to you about an amazing opportunity.

If we accept federal health care dollars under the Affordable Care Act, tens of thousands of working Mainers can have health insurance – at no cost to the state.

A lot of Maine communities are like Westbrook. Many folks have been hit hard by the Great Recession. They work hard but they don’t have jobs that provide insurance.

They can’t afford thousands of dollars for premiums, deductibles and co-pays. They certainly can’t afford to get sick. Doctor’s appointments and prescriptions mean there’s even less in the household budget for rent, groceries and fuel.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Maine can accept the federal government’s offer. And the time to act is now.

The federal government has agreed to pay 100 percent of the costs for three years. The feds expect that over ten years its average share will be over 94 percent.

This week, Gov. LePage received a letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid that once again confirms this great deal. But the governor keeps looking for excuses to reject this offer.

Democrats have already passed a bill that would complete the final debt payment to hospitals, prevent hospital costs from spiraling out of control and cover more Maine working families. It was a comprehensive solution.

The governor vetoed it.

In the past several months, Maine has received five different letters from the federal government. They all say that the state just needs to fill out some paperwork to secure 100 percent of funding for 70,000 Maine people.

You should know that the federal government has never missed a Medicaid payment to Maine. Not once in the 48 years we’ve had the program.

We can’t afford to delay. This offer does expire. We face a deadline of January 1, and there’s work to be done before then.

There are so many reasons that Maine should act.

First of all, it’s the right thing to do by working Maine families who deserve a family doctor.

It’s also good for Maine business. This deal will inject $250 million into our economy and create 3,100 new jobs.

Hospitals are big winners. They’ll get additional money to offset the free care they now provide – $163 million each year. Maine hospitals spend more than twice that amount in charity care and bad debt annually. These costs are passed on to all consumers.

Maine would save $690 million over the next decade if it accepts these federal dollars. That’s according to the nonpartisan Kaiser Foundation and the conservative Heritage Foundation.

States all over the country are seizing this opportunity. Maine is the sole New England state that isn’t helping its people with this deal.

In the West, states like California, Oregon and Washington are doing the right thing. In the Midwest, it’s states like Michigan, Illinois, Ohio and Minnesota. In the South, there’s Kentucky, Tennessee and Florida.

There are states with Democratic governors like New York and states with Republican governors like New Jersey.

The list goes on and on. So why are these states helping their folks get insurance while Maine isn’t?

Urge this administration to do the right thing. Tell the governor we don’t want any more excuses.

This is Representative Drew Gattine. Thank you for listening.

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Weekly Address of Governor LePage: Time for Dems to Stop Deceitful Gamesmanship, Pay Hospitals

Posted on June 1, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

(Note: The stresses within today’s share are mine and not as was sent out to media by the Governor’s office. dditionally, the title is mine- as sent, the address was entitled “It’s That Time Again!” ~AP)

Audio link here.

Folks, it’s deja vu all over again. Nearly five months after I submitted a plan to pay Maine’s hospitals, they still haven’t been paid. We’re back to square one.

lepage head 2Hello, this is Governor LePage.

Back in January, I submitted my plan to pay off the half-a-billion-dollar debt to Maine’s 39 hospitals. After 139 days, lots of delays and some last-minute political maneuvering, the hospitals are still not paid.

Democrats and Republicans agree my plan to use revenue from a new liquor contract to pay off the hospital debt is the best deal for Maine. With all of the public support for paying our bills, Senate President Justin Alfond and Speaker of the House Mark Eves know they can’t leave the State House without paying the hospitals. So what’s the hold up?

Democratic leadership pulled every trick in the book to avoid passing my plan. First, they held off hearing the bill for as long as they could. Then they claimed it was unconstitutional. Then they came up with a new deal for the liquor contract, which was pretty much the same as the old bad deal.

Then they replaced my bill with a committee bill that had all the elements of my plan, just to save face. Their final strategy was to tie the hospital payment to a huge expansion of welfare. They knew welfare expansion wouldn’t pass on its own merits, so they used Washington-style politics to force it through without bipartisan support.

Public support for my plan has been strong since day one. The Maine people want to pay the hospitals. In fact, they demand it.

This campaign by Democratic leadership to avoid paying the hospitals has serious consequences. Their political shenanigans have caused layoffs and prevented shovel-ready construction projects from getting started. Their refusal to pay the hospital debt is causing Maine’s credit rating to suffer.

Folks, I was not subtle. I said many times I would veto the bill if it was tied to expansion. And that’s exactly what I did. Seventy percent of Mainers believe the hospital bill should not be tied to welfare expansion.

Democratic leadership ignored the will of the Maine people, and they wasted valuable time on a bill they knew would get vetoed. They did this to appease their masters in Washington, D.C. and to please their special-interest groups at home. Democrats showed they care more about the Maine Peoples Alliance than the Maine people.

My plan will put many of those Mainers to work right away. It would pay 484-million-dollars to 39 hospitals, which provide some of the state’s best-paying jobs to Mainers. It would release about $100 million in voter-approved bonds and instantly create jobs in the construction industry. It would authorize a $100 million bond for transportation projects to fix our roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

My plan for a new liquor contract would return millions of dollars a year to Maine, rather than sending all that money to an out-of-state company. The new contract would benefit consumers, agency stores and the workers they employee. My plan was a good deal for Mainers five months ago, and it is a good deal today. Once again, I ask: What’s the hold up?

It’s time for Democrats to stop their deceitful gamesmanship. It’s time to pay the hospitals.

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