Archive for January 11th, 2014

Weekly Democratic Address by Speaker Mark Eves (N Berwick): Politics Only Obstacle to Life-Saving Health Care for Maine

Posted on January 11, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

democratic radio message 11014-1(Audio link here)

    Speaker Eves: Politics is the only obstacle to life-saving health care for Maine people
    Alexander report another political excuse to deny and delay health care.

speaker evesWhen Laura Tasheiko of Northport found out she had seriously aggressive cancer she was fortunate to get the treatment she needed because she qualified for life-saving health care through Medicaid. But earlier this month she was dropped and left without coverage as she continues her recovery from the ongoing and debilitating effects of cancer, surgery, and chemotherapy.

Like 25,000 other Mainers, Laura lost her coverage because Governor Paul LePage refused to accept federal health care dollars to expand Medicaid in Maine.

Good morning, I’m Speaker of the Maine House Mark Eves of North Berwick.

Laura’s story is one of the many reasons the Legislature will reignite our effort to make sure health care is affordable for more Maine families. Earlier this week, hundreds of Mainers like Laura rallied at the State House on the opening day of the Legislative session in support of accepting federal health care dollars to cover more Mainers.

Maine has an opportunity to accept 100 percent federal funding to provide health care for 70,000 Maine people, including nearly 3,000 veterans. We should do it.

The only obstacle standing in the way of this life-saving health care is politics.

Health care is a right not a privilege. No one should go bankrupt just because they get sick.

Accepting these federal dollars will mean life-saving health care for people like Laura. It will also save and create thousands of jobs by investing more than $250 million dollars into our state economy each year.

Plus, it will save the state money, Independent studies show the state will save $690 million dollars over the course of 10 years. Maine is one of only 10 states that will see such dramatic savings.

Now, Governor LePage and his Tea Party allies will say and do anything to stop this common sense health care proposal from moving forward.
They’ve even paid an out-of-state Tea Party consultant to produce a report opposing it. The $1 million contract went to Gary Alexander, whose mismanagement and failed policies resulted in 89,000 children losing health care in Pennsylvania and cost taxpayers in that state $7 million.

You can expect the Governor and his supporters to tout this report. I urge you to see it for what it is: Another political excuse to deny and delay life-saving health care to more Maine people.

I urge you to join the chorus of Mainers who support expanding health care. On Wednesday, Jan. 15th. a public hearing will be held on my bill to accept federal health dollars to cover more Maine people,

Lawmakers need to hear from Mainers about health care not out of state million dollar consultant.

Thank you for listening.

I’m Speaker of the House Mark Eves and I won’t stop fight for health care for the people of Maine.

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Weekly Address of Governor Paul LePage: Fixing Maine’s Welfare System and Creating a Path to Economic Independence

Posted on January 11, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

(Audio link here.)

lepage officeMaine’s safety net should help our most needy citizens. Among those most vulnerable are our elderly, disabled and mentally ill.

Hello, this is Governor Paul LePage.

Maine’s safety net, however, should not pay for things like alcohol and cigarettes.

Unfortunately, we now know that welfare abuse is more widespread than we thought. This week, we shared with Mainers some shocking news about how some people are spending their welfare benefits – specifically money from Electronic Benefit Transfer cards.

EBT Cards issued in Maine have been used in all 50 states.

Since 2012, more than 3,000 transactions were made at more than 20 “smoke shops” in Maine, which sell mostly cigarettes and other tobacco products. There are several examples of individuals using their EBT cards to spend hundreds of dollars at a time at liquor stores too. One liquor store in New Hampshire had more than a thousand transactions totaling nearly $8,000.

There are nearly 650 transactions at retail establishments that sell primarily alcohol, such as bars and sports pubs. The data also shows that EBT cards were used at strip clubs in Maine.

It makes sense that these sorts of transactions would be illegal. And they are now.

In the next few weeks, I will give lawmakers a bill that aims to reduce this kind of illegal activity. It’s imperative that fraud is eliminated from the welfare system because it takes away from those who need it most. Our Administration is committed to helping those who are truly in need, but we cannot support those cheating the system.

This session, I will also be introducing a bill to repeal a state law that prevents Maine from complying with federal requirements in one of Maine’s welfare programs – Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF.

The Clinton Administration enacted welfare reforms in 1996, requiring beneficiaries of TANF to either work or train for a job. However, a year later the Maine Legislature updated state law to include a wide variety of exemptions that allow people to get around the federal work requirements. This puts us out of line with federal standards, and we now face $13 million in fines from the Obama Administration.

Under federal requirements, half of all families who receive TANF benefits and at least 90 percent of two-parent households must engage in work or education programs. Single parents must work 30 hours a week.

We just want to align state law with the federal standards so Maine taxpayers are not forced to pay millions of dollars in penalties. It’s common-sense legislation.

As Ronald Reagan used to joke, “The Democrats fought a war on poverty and poverty won.” A good job is the best way out of poverty. That’s why we are focusing on welfare-to-work programs to lift Mainers from poverty to the middle-class. I understand, it’s not an easy road.

By conforming to federal standards and eliminating welfare abuse, we can provide a safety net for our most vulnerable, and we can use our resources to provide Mainers a path to economic independence.

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