Weekly Democratic Address by Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson: Time for Governor LePage to Stop Excuses, Expand Health Care to More Maine People

Posted on September 21, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

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    (NOTE: Links beyond the audio radio address are my own addition. ~AP)

    DEMOCRATIC RADIO ADDRESS (AUDIO)

    Jackson says: it is time for the governor to stop the excuses and expand health care to more Maine people because it’s the right economic and moral thing to do

Good Morning. This is Senate Majority Leader, Troy Jackson of Allagash.

There are some things worth debating, like taxes and budgets. But lately, there has been one issue that some, including Governor LePage, have decided to turn in to a political football—expanding health care to more Maine people.

Right now, Maine has an opportunity to at no cost, expand health care to tens of thousands of hard working Mainers, including 3,000 veterans. If Maine does not accept this offer to expand health care, then people will go without and the deal will be lost. With people’s lives on the line, we should not be debating whether or not it’s the right thing to do. The answer is clear.

To me, and to many of my colleagues, making sure that you can go to the doctor—that you can afford the doctor’s visit when you are sick, is not debatable. It’s a basic right— one that ensures a healthier and a longer life and for folks to keep working to provide for their families.

Earlier this week, my Democratic colleagues called on the governor to stop making excuses to deny and delay health care.

We called on him to look beyond his rhetoric and join all the other Republican Governors who put aside partisanship and political games to accept federal dollars and expand health care for the people in their state.

Instead, this week, Governor LePage doubled down on his deny and delay tactics and spread misinformation about the Mainers who need healthcare. Worse, his tactics attempt to pit Mainers against each other by vilifying people who have no other choice but to turn to Medicaid or Medicare for their health care.

The Mainers who don’t have health insurance, and could benefit from expanding health care, look like you and me. In fact, if I weren’t in the legislature, I wouldn’t have health insurance because as a logger from Allagash, I can’t afford it.

My friend Ryan Kelly was also a logger from Allagash, and he didn’t have health insurance. He did have a heart condition that he couldn’t get treatment for— and he died at the age of 26, leaving behind a four year old daughter.

I, too have a heart condition— one that is very similar to the one my friend Ryan had. But because I have health insurance, I can afford to get the care I need— and I’m alive. I can’t help thinking that’s the reason that I’m still here today— I have health insurance.

We should be throwing people like Ryan a line, not pulling up the ladder behind us.

Health care is a right and no one should be left behind.

So why does Governor LePage think that he and the government can choose who deserves health care and who doesn’t? He has health insurance. Perhaps it’s easy to judge when you have something that others do not.

He doesn’t think that if you drink or smoke you deserve health insurance so you can see a doctor. What about if you wear glasses? Or have a pre-existing condition? Where do you draw the line— and who is he to be the judge and jury on people’s lives.

In January, there are 25,000 people— that’s more than the entire population of Auburn— who currently have Medicaid and will lose their health care because of the governor’s decision. I wonder what he’ll say to them? How he, a man with health insurance, will tell 25,000 Mainers they’re not worth it?

Well, I can tell you that I don’t believe I or anyone else has the right to deny health care to others just because they are sick.

I don’t want to live in a state where we turn our back on those in need.

In January, when the Legislature reconvenes we will continue fighting so that every family has a family doctor. And it is time for the governor to stop the excuses, stop dividing our state, and join what doctors, hospitals, businesses, and Mainers know: Expanding health care to more Maine people is the right economic and moral thing to do.

Thank you for listening. This is Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash. Have a great weekend.

*Related: Troy Jackson’s Heart

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