Weekly Address of Governor Paul LePage: Medicaid expansion has been disastrous for other states
Audio link here; originally released by the Governor’s office for 5/21/14.
Medicaid expansion has been disastrous for other states
Democrats and their allies in the media pushed hard for Maine to expand Medicaid and add 100,000 people to our welfare system. They claimed expanding Medicaid would be free because the federal government would pay for it. They were wrong.
I vetoed Medicaid expansion five times this session because we knew that expanding Medicaid would not be free. It would cost Maine taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars over the next decade.
But don’t take my word for it. Just look at states that are now being crushed by ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion.
Arkansas expanded Medicaid the same way Maine Democrats wanted to. Already this year, Arkansas is $8 million over budget.
In California, 1.4 million more people signed up for Medicaid than they anticipated. California taxpayers are now facing $1.2 billion in unexpected costs.
Rhode Island expanded Medicaid in a way that was similar to what Democrats originally proposed for Maine. They originally estimated that 28,000 people would sign up by September. By the end of March, over 64,000 had already signed up. Rhode Island now has a $52 million budget shortfall.
Democrats claimed that expanding Medicaid in Maine would be free. But it wasn’t free after Maine first expanded Medicaid in 2002. It resulted in welfare debt of $750 million to Maine’s hospitals, and it squeezed out funding for our elderly, our disabled and our nursing homes.
Arkansas, California and Rhode Island have learned the hard way that expanding welfare under ObamaCare is far from free. The federal government will not pay for their busted budgets. Local taxpayers have to foot the bill for these financial disasters.
The rush to sign up for Medicaid isn’t the only problem some states are grappling with. Massachusetts chose to set up its own website to enroll people for insurance under ObamaCare. That website is a catastrophic failure, and it has to be scrapped.
The boondoggle will cost Massachusetts an estimated $100 million. Local taxpayers are left holding the bag for that one.As we said over and over again, there is no free lunch. These states are facing enormous costs because of Medicaid expansion and ObamaCare. We did not want Maine to get stuck in that position. That’s why we hired a consultant to advise us on how best to manage all of our welfare programs.
The consultant just released the bulk of his report, detailing what we are doing right and what we can do to improve our welfare programs. Before they could even read it, Democrats jumped up to attack the report. They just won’t face facts.
Take time to read it before you go on the attack. We must take control of our welfare program. The federal government’s one-size-fits-all approach has been disastrous in many states.
We must be able to adjust Maine’s welfare program to fits the needs of Maine people and the Maine budget.
You will hear much more about our efforts to reform welfare in the coming months. The Democrats won’t like it, but I know you will.
Thank you for listening.