Weekly Democratic Address by Speaker Mark Eves (N Berwick): Politics Only Obstacle to Life-Saving Health Care for Maine
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.
When 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.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Yesterday the 126th Maine Legislature reconvened to begin the second half of the legislative session. At the same time, hundreds of people from around the state came to Augusta to hold a rally organized by Maine People’s Alliance coalition members, hear the life stories of almost two dozen fellow citizens, and urge lawmakers to support expansion of Medicare for 70,000 Mainers as part of the Health Care First initiative.
Almost two dozen came to the mic to speak at the rally; here is a full clip from the event held in the State House’s Hall of Flags.
- “As a nurse, many of the patients I see every day wait until they are so sick that we can’t help them the way that we should and their health deteriorates even more,” said Jessie Mellott, a Registered Nurse from Bangor, introducing the speakers. “They lose limbs. They may never get back to their previous health due to lack of access to care. A lot of the time, these are easy things to fix if they were addressed in time. I urge the legislature to help me care for my patients and take the important step of expanding Medicaid services for 70,000 Maine people.”
“When I found out I had seriously aggressive cancer I was able to access MaineCare and that was life-saving for me,”said Laura Tasheiko of Northport. “I was dropped and left without coverage as I continue my recovery from the ongoing and debilitating effects of cancer, surgery, and chemotherapy treatment. MaineCare is essential for the monitoring and care needed to avoid a medical crisis from medication complications, or even death, in the event of the cancer coming back.”
“Without MaineCare, my injuries will just keep getting worse and worse. I’ll just keep going until I can’t go anymore and then they’ll throw you to the wolves, I guess,”said Richard Holt, a lobsterman and carpenter living in South Portland, “I need it to make sure I can stay healthy enough to keep working for at least another 4 years before I qualify for Medicare.”
More quotes from Bangor Daily News:
- One of those speakers was Gail MacLean, who boards horses at her stable in Gray. MacLean said she has been on Medicaid for three years, but lost her coverage on Dec. 31 as a result of the state not expanding the program, known as MaineCare in the state.
“Now I’m tip-toeing around the farm, hoping I don’t hurt myself,” she said. “My fear is that if something happens, I’ll lose what I’ve worked so hard for.”
Another man, Tom Bennie, a farmer and handyman from Whitefield, said MaineCare paid for his full hip replacement in 2010, and helped his wife recover from a heart attack shortly thereafter.
“If it weren’t for MaineCare, I wouldn’t be able to stand here today,” he said. “My health is all I have. That’s the most important thing. MaineCare gave me a sense of security.”
Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos, I-Friendship, is co-sponsor of Eves’ Medicaid expansion bill, which legislative Republicans and LePage have vowed to defeat again this year. He called on the governor to follow the example of other GOP executives, such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who in their states accepted Medicaid expansion as allowed by President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
He called the showing by MPA “impressive.”
“I think it’s a real statement to the moderate Republicans to get on board,” he said. “If Gov. LePage vetoes this bill again, I expect them to support us in overriding.”
Later after the end of the beginning day of session, Senate President Justin Alfond and Speaker of the House Mark Eves spoke to those assembled:
- “Today in the halls of the State House, we heard why expanding health care to tens of thousands of Mainers is a top priority. The stakes are high—people’s lives and well-being are on the line,” said Senate President Justin Alfond of Portland. “Expanding healthcare is the right thing to do morally and it’s the right economic decision. Making sure folks have access to healthcare without the fear of going bankrupt is something we all value and it’s something we will continue fighting for.”
“We are so grateful to the people who came today to talk to lawmakers about the importance of this life-saving health care,”said Speaker of the House Mark Eves of North Berwick, who is sponsoring a new measure to accept federal Medicaid dollars under the Affordable Care Act. “What we heard today is what we hear from our neighbors at home: people want and need life-saving health care. They don’t understand why politics and ideology are holding up common sense care.”
A public hearing will be held by the HHS Committee (Cross Building Rm 209) on January 15 regarding Speaker Eves’ and Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson’s Medicaid expansion proposals. More pictures from yesterday can be found here.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Weekly Democratic Address of Sen. John Patrick (Oxford): No One Should Fear Medical Emergency Leading to Bankruptcy
DEMOCRATIC RADIO ADDRESS
Patrick says: No one should have to fear that a medical emergency may lead to bankruptcy. It is time for Maine to step up and do something to help Mainers who lack basic health care.
We are just a few days in to 2014. For many of us, ringing in a new year is the marker of new beginnings. Often, we make new year’s resolutions that include a pledge to be healthier. For many, we are fortunate: accessing health care and getting our medical needs tended-to is not met with obstacles and challenges.
But, for the tens of thousands of Mainers who don’t have health insurance and can’t afford the out-of-pocket expense of going to the doctor, getting basic health care is often saved just for emergencies.
When folks can’t get the care they need, more serious health problems often arise and the quality, and sometimes even the length of their life, is diminished.
Good morning. This is State Senator John Patrick of Rumford.
For 3,000 veterans and tens of thousands of other Mainers, New Year’s Day was not likely a day for celebration. It was the day they lost their existing MaineCare health insurance.
What is going to happen to those folks who are in the middle of treatment for cancer or diabetes? What about those who have a heart condition? What choices do they now have?
Next week, the Legislature returns to work and we will, once again, have the opportunity to do something to help Mainers who lack basic health care.
At no cost to Maine taxpayers, we can accept the federal government’s offer to expand MaineCare health insurance to 70,000 of our neighbors. The federal government will pick up 100 percent of the costs for the first three years, and then, will gradually ratchet down to no less than 90 percent of the costs.
Additionally, if after the first three years, Mainers decide the program isn’t working, we can opt out–with no penalties. Imagine how many lives we can save and improve, and make healthier, by just giving this deal a chance.
While the Affordable Care Act is a good first step in ensuring more Americans have access to the health care they need, states need to step up to the plate and do their part to ensure the people in their states, who may have fallen through the cracks, have a chance at basic health care.
Fortunately, the federal government has made it easy: Maine could do as 25 other states and the District of Columbia have already done: accept the federal government’s offer to expand MaineCare health insurance.
Even other conservative governors have accepted this deal to help the folks in their states–and so too should Governor LePage. It is time for him to put aside politics and instead do what’s morally and economically right for the people of Maine.
Accepting this deal will save Maine $690 million over the next ten years, create more than 3,000 health care jobs, and inject $250 million into our economy.
The truth is, this deal is not about whether or not you like the Affordable Care Act. However, it is about ensuring 70,000 of our neighbors have access to the care they need, creating health care jobs, and saving money.
Every family should have a family doctor, and no one should have to fear that a medical emergency may lead to bankruptcy. Accepting this deal brings us one step closer to making that goal a reality.
Thank you for listening. This is State Senator John Patrick of Rumford. And I wish you and your family a very safe, healthy, and happy new year.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Weekly Democratic Address by Speaker of the House Mark Eves (N Berwick): New laws will help strengthen Maine’s economy and middle class
Gridlock, government shutdown, and “do-nothing” politics.
These were the words that spanned the headlines and were uttered in coffee shops around the state as many speculated about the fate of a divided government in Augusta. I’m proud to say Democrats, Republicans, and Independents came together to put those fears to rest this week as we wrapped up our work in Augusta.
Good morning, I’m Speaker of the House Mark Eves of North Berwick.
While some were itching for a fight and even a crisis, lawmakers found common ground on the biggest challenges facing our state.
Together, Democrats, Republicans and Independents prevented massive property tax hikes, helped workers get the skills they need to compete, and approved a sweeping energy package that will allow Mainers to warm their homes more efficiently and at a lower cost.
These common sense actions to strengthen Maine’s economy and middle class prevailed over divided government and obstruction.
In a divided government, we showed that with give and take, you can get the job done. In divided government, you can’t win by demanding all or nothing.
Because of the bipartisan work we did, more money will go into our classrooms to help our kids, Mainers will have access to lower-cost medicine, infants and toddlers will be protected from harmful chemicals in baby food jar lids and formula cans.
While Governor LePage made every effort to delay and deny healthcare for 70,000 Mainers, we fought hard and came further than we would have ever thought possible. We passed a bill to accept federal funds to do just that – twice!
While we fell short of overriding LePage’s veto of this lifesaving measure, we will not stop fighting to ensure more families have access to a family doctor.
As Speaker, I pledge to make this a priority that both parties can get behind next year. We will never stop fighting for health care.
Time after time, and vote after vote, Democrats stood up for Maine values and successfully blocked proposals that would hurt Maine’s people and our economy.
We turned back bills that would have eroded the rights of workers and women while advancing measures that would put more money in the pockets of working people. From minimum wage to climate change, we stood up for Maine values.
Despite Governor LePage’s record-breaking veto spree, we were able to accomplish a lot.
Democrats will continue to work across the aisle to do what’s right for the people of Maine.
Thank you for listening, I’m Speaker of the House Mark Eves.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Video of today’s press conference here.
The accompanying press release:
Lives on the Line: Mainers Tell Personal Stories
Mainers urge passage of comprehensive bill managing health care costs for hospitals and people
AUGUSTA — Mainers on Thursday urged Gov. Paul LePage and the Legislature to accept federal health care dollars under a comprehensive health care bill proposed by Democrats, saying their lives depend on gaining access to critical care.
U.S. Navy veteran Tom Ptacek will lose his health care coverage in January if the state does not act. Ptacek, who has experienced homelessness in the past, said health care coverage is key to moving ahead.
“Not knowing whether your medical needs or possible future medical needs are covered weighs on you. It’s having that security that helps you get up and go to work every day and go on with your life,” he said.
The Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee, which has been overseeing a plan to complete the hospital repayment through the refinancing of the state’s liquor contract, is expected to take action on the bill today.
“The Maine Legislature now has the opportunity pass this comprehensive bill and change the lives of so many people for the better. Please do it now,” urged Sonja Sawyer, a breast cancer survivor from Bangor.
Patty Kidder of Sanford also spoke about the need for health care coverage under the Democratic proposal. She and her husband lost health care coverage when her husband lost his job at Spencer Press during the recession. Because of health issues, he needs seven prescription medicines, all of which need doctor review.
“We are overdue to see our family doctor because we can’t afford to pay for the office visit. It is scary to think about what could happen if my husband can’t refill his medication,” said Kidder.
On Wednesday, lawmakers on the Health and Human Services Committee, in a bipartisan vote of 10-4, strongly urged that language on accepting federal health care dollars be part of a bill to repay Maine’s hospitals. In March, Democrats announced a comprehensive plan that called for addressing both health care issues at the same time.
“Not only do we pay back our hospitals, but we also ensure that thousands of Mainers can see a doctor when they are sick,” said Speaker of the House Mark Eves of North Berwick. “By doing so, we reduce the charity care costs and bad debt that are cost drivers for our hospitals. To do one without the other, would leave the job half done.”
According to the Maine Hospital Association, both bad debt and charity care, was about $450 million last year, up $32 million from the year before.
Under the comprehensive Democratic plan, nearly 70,000 more Maine people would have access to health care, hospitals would be paid back $485 million in debt and they would also receive an additional $163 million a year in federal dollars for treating newly insured Maine residents.
“Our comprehensive proposal is morally and economically the right thing to do. It addresses the costs of health care for our hospitals and our people,” said Senate President Justin Alfond. “People’s lives are on the line. Now is the time to act.”
The federal government has agreed to cover 100 percent of the cost for covering thousands of Mainers for the next three years, and gradually lower its payment to no less than 90 percent of the cost by 2020.
Maine is projected to save $690 million in the next 10 years if it accepts the federal dollars, according to the nonpartisan Kaiser Foundation and the conservative Heritage Foundation. The state is one of 10 that will see a drop in Medicaid spending from accepting the federal dollars.
MYTHS AND FACTS
MYTH: Democrats surprised Republicans by linking Medicaid expansion to the hospital payment.
FACT: This is the latest in a long list of excuses for Republicans to delay and deny health care to thousands of Maine people. Democrats announced this plan in March during a press conference and later told Republicans and the Governor they would put both in one bill in a meeting in April. This plan has been widely reported and editorialized on in major daily newspapers.
MYTH: Gov. LePage says Medicaid Expansion is welfare.
FACT: Medicaid is health care for low-income individuals, many of whom are working but cannot afford health insurance coverage or don’t have the option from their employer. Seventy percent of Medicaid enrollees are either children, seniors or individuals with disabilities. MaineCare payments go to hospitals and health care providers to provide services not directly to eligible individuals.
MYTH: Gov. LePage says Medicaid Expansion could cost Maine $100 million.
FACT: Estimates from the non-partisan Kaiser Foundation and the conservative Heritage Foundation show that Maine will save $690 million to cover nearly 70,000 Maine people over the course of a decade. Maine is one of 10 states that will see Medicaid expenditures go down over 10 years.
MYTH: Governor LePage needs time to negotiate a better deal with the federal government.
FACT: The federal government has offered Maine a bargain. It has already pledged to pay 100 percent of the costs of health care for three years. Over time, that share will decline until it reaches 90 percent in 2020 and future years. That compares to the average 57 percent of the costs the federal government pays states on average for people currently on Medicaid. Maine can opt-out at any time. In a recent letter to Governor LePage, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius offered to provide the LePage administration “flexibility under the law” to implement the program in Maine. The fact is, since 1965, the federal government has 100 percent compliance in meeting its commitment to states with respect to the match rate and other medicaid obligations. The record of the federal government is far superior to that of the states, including Maine, in terms of meeting its promises to both states and providers.
MYTH: Gov. LePage says Democrats won’t pay Maine’s hospital debt.
FACT: Democrats and Governor LePage agree that we must make the final payment on our state’s debt to hospitals. As we make a final payment on Maine’s hospital debt, Democrats believe we must also address the underlying problem that helped cause the debt. To do one without the other would leave the job half done. Under the comprehensive plan proposed by Democrats, hospitals would be paid $485 million in back debt rightfully owed to them and on top of that they would also receive an additional $163 million a year in federal dollars for treating newly insured Maine residents. This brings in more insured patients, increases patient volume and eliminates a major cost driver in the health care system.
MYTH: Maine’s hospital debt has nothing to do with Medicaid expansion.
FACT: Maine’s hospital debt is a symptom of our high health care costs. We can’t just treat the symptom; we have to treat the problem. We can lower those costs by accepting federal health care dollars to cover nearly 70,000 Maine people. By doing so we would significantly reduce hospital charity care cost for the uninsured. According to the Maine Hospital Association, both bad debt and charity care, was about $450 million last year, up $32 million from the year before. Hospitals pass these charity care costs to consumers, including the state and individuals and businesses with private insurance.
MYTH: Medicaid expansion would be a government handout for lazy able-bodied adults
FACT: The federal health care dollars would be used toward health care for those who earned up to 138 percent of the poverty rate. That includes individuals who are working in low-paying jobs with no health insurance, earning $15,856 or a family of three earning up to $26,951. According to the Anthem Blue Cross insurance chart on the state’s website, an individual policy with a $2,000 deductible for a 55-year-old would be about $6,500 per year. That policy features a $50 co-pay for a regular office visit.
The accompanying press release:
- DEMOCRATIC LEADERS ANNOUNCE PLAN FOR HOSPITAL REPAYMENT AND REFORM
Dems say hospitals will be paid upfront in plan to reform health care system
AUGUSTA—Democrats today unveiled a comprehensive “Hospital Repayment and Reform” plan that would make the final payment on Maine’s hospitals debt and institute reforms to help prevent outsized medical bills in the future. The plan would provide sustainable healthcare for more Maine families.
“Democrats have always been focused on repaying the state’s debt to the hospitals–even during the worst recession of our lifetime,” said Senate President Justin Alfond of Portland. “Today, we commit to a swift upfront and immediate payment in full to put to rest our debt obligation.”
Under the Democratic Repayment and Reform Plan, the hospitals will be paid in full by September 30, 2013, from the financing of the state’s liquor contract. By paying the hospitals prior to October 1, 2013, the state will save $5 million. The payment would trigger a federal match of $298 million, completing final payment to Maine’s hospitals. Key components of the reform package include: increasing transparency in medical billing, tying payments from the state to positive health outcomes; and accepting federal dollars to expand access to health care under the Affordable Care Act.
Alfond added, “It’s important to remember that this issue is not just about debt, It’s also about high health care costs. And, any plan to pay off debt to the hospitals should also address the cost drivers and reforming our system to prevent this debt from building up again.”
Over the last decade, Maine hospitals have been paid $3.7 billion in combined state and federal dollars to repay past debt and to maintain services.
The final payment to the hospitals under the Democratic plan comes at no financial risk to Maine taxpayers and does not include a borrowing scheme. The money would come directly from the winning bidder to the state’s $400 million liquor business.
“Not only will we ask for the hospitals to account for the spending of the money that we repay to them through this final debt payment. Going forward, we need to understand exactly what we’re paying for and why,” said Speaker of the House Mark Eves of North Berwick. “From bandaids to boardrooms and aspirins to X-rays, consumers have the right to know how our healthcare dollars are spent.”
A recent report by Time Magazine revealed exorbitant medical costs hidden in bills from hospitals in other states, including one charging $77 for a box of gauze for a patient diagnosed with lung cancer.
Democrats also said hospitals and Governor LePage should support accepting federal dollars under the Affordable Care Act to increase access to health care for up to 70,000 Maine people, through so called Medicaid expansion. Accepting the federal dollars would save the state $690 million over the next decade, according to both the conservative Heritage Foundation and the nonpartisan Kaiser Foundation.
Maine hospitals would also realize savings from the reduction of charity and preventable emergency care.
“What’s at stake is a family doctor for every family,” said Eves. “Other states around the country, including states with Republican governors have put politics aside to do what’s right for their people.”
Since Governor LePage came into office, his administration has cut health care for thousands of Maine people, yet costs continue to rise. In 2014, 44,000 Maine people will be denied health care, including veterans, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
Governor LePage and the Republican Party have politicized the hospital debt, using it as ransom to release key economic investments needed for job creation in cities and towns. Last week, LePage twice threatened to launch a veto spree until his demands were met.
Alfond added, “It is our hope that our plan will end the political rhetoric and games.”
Governor John Baldacci inherited 11 years of unpaid hospital debts on his first day in office. In 2009, Democrats changed the way Maine pays it’s hospitals to a “pay as you go system” to prevent the cycle of debt. In 2010, the Democratic system went into effect and has been administered by the Republican Administration.
Members of the Democratic Majority leadership held a media availability press conference this afternoon to discuss Governor LePage’s threat to halt the work of the Legislature by abusing his veto power and shutting down state government. During a radio interview this morning, LePage “promised” to veto every bill that crosses his desk until his convoluted liquor bill becomes law.
L-R: Asst House Majority Leader Rep. Jeff McCabe (Skowhegan)
Senate Majority Leader Seth Goodall (Richmond)
Asst Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson (Allagash)
Meanwhile, the Maine Democratic Party shared a clip from this morning where Paul LePage doubled down on his statement reported earlier:
“I made a commitment this morning and the next bill I sign as Governor will be the hospital bill. Whatever it takes. And if they’re not willing to bring it to me fast, why don’t they just pull the session and go home, spend time with the kids and we’ll see ya next January.”
At some point it must be acknowledged that this guy is far more interested in working on his golf game in Florida than actually doing his job. This is not leadership, not by a long shot.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
(11:45 am UPDATE– A media availability press conference has now been announced for later this afternoon with the entire Democratic majority leadership members.)
A busy morning, as Governor Paul LePage, just returning from a “blink and you missed it” trip to DC and his annual Florida family vacation has once again blustered himself into some media coverage that is sure to get more national attention:
During a Bangor radio station interview this morning, Gov. Paul LePage said he will veto every bill that crosses his desk until his plan to repay hospitals goes into law. That includes the bill that will allow bars to open at 6 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day, which falls on a Sunday this year.
LePage was speaking to Rik Tyler, on the George Hale/Rik Tyler Show on WVQM 101.3 and WVOM 103.9. The governor said he will veto any and all bills — including his own — until the emergency legislation he submitted is signed into law. LePage said he notified legislators of that intent last week.
More via Portland Press Herald:
Tyler, the radio show host, was caught off guard by the governor’s veto comment. LePage elaborated, saying the Legislature had passed emergency legislation to allow bars to open early on Sunday for St. Patrick’s Day and an emergency moratorium on public inspection of concealed weapons permit holder information.
LePage urged passage of the concealed weapons bill.
“If that’s more important than paying the hospitals then I think we have a problem,” LePage said.
He added, “Until they move forward … I’m not going to move forward on any legislation,” he said.
LePage added that the veto threat applied to his own bills.
Within hours, some of the Democratic majority leaders fired back with the following press release:
DEMOCRATS DENOUNCE LEPAGE SHUTDOWN, VETO THREATS
Democrats call on Republicans to reject “do nothing” politics
AUGUSTA — Democratic leaders on Friday denounced Governor Paul LePage’s threat to halt the work of the Legislature by abusing his veto power and shutting down state government until his hospital repayment plan becomes law.
“In one week we’ve heard ongoing threats to shutdown state government if Republicans don’t get what they want. Today, the Governor promised to veto every bill that comes across his desk if he doesn’t get what he wants. This is not governing. This is not leadership. It is the type of political gamesmanship that doesn’t belong here in Maine,” said Senate Majority Leader Seth Goodall of Richmond. “I suspect the people of Maine want leaders not schoolyard bullies. We have serious challenges facing our economy and we should be focused on finding solutions not making threats.”
During a radio appearance early Friday morning, the Governor promised that he will veto all bills that cross his desk until the Legislature passes his borrowing scheme to make the final payment to Maine hospitals. Republicans have failed to acknowledge that the hospital debt has been continuously and increasingly paid back, thanks largely to a plan developed by Democrats. The Governor’s threat to shutdown state government follows Republican House Minority Leader Ken Fredette’s prediction of a shutdown last week.
“First, Republican leaders start throwing around the possibility of a state government shutdown and now the Governor is threatening to go on a veto spree. This type of brinksmanship is even worse than what we’re seeing from the GOP in Washington. Maine people deserve better than this from their leaders,” said House Majority Leader Seth Berry of Bowdoinham.
Democrats are focused on legislation to strengthen Maine’s workforce, public schools, and the middle class. The Governor is threatening those and other important efforts.
“The Governor is telling us it’s his way or the highway. His obstructionist bullying will derail important legislation on domestic violence, public safety and economic development,” said Assistant Majority Leader Jeff McCabe of Skowhegan. “We call on our Republican colleagues to reject such do-nothing politics.”
The LePage administration is pushing a convoluted plan that pulls the state’s wholesale liquor business into a deal that would put Maine in debt to Wall Street to make the final payment to hospitals. The plan gambles the value of the liquor contract and is being used to hold hostage other bonds that already have approval from Maine voters.
“Today the Governor told the people of Maine that the hospitals are more important than they are. I disagree,” said Assistant Majority Leader Senator Troy Jackson of Allagash. “I think the people of Maine want lawmakers focused on getting folks back to work, earning more money and improving our schools.”
Maine has paid more than $3.7 billion to hospitals over the last decade.
Jackson added, “We need to get the best deal for Maine and that requires us working together. I think everyone agrees that ten years ago we rushed this deal and could’ve done better. Now, we cannot gamble the future of Maine because the Governor is having another temper tantrum.”
Interesting timing for the latest outburst from LePage- could it be to deflect attention from the fact that starting today, all of the… um… “inaccuracies” that former Rep. Jon McKane and the rest of the 125th GOP legislators told to get LD 1333/ PL 90 shoved into law are being exposed as such?
About 7,000 Maine customers of Mega Life and Health Insurance Co. will be affected by a rate change set to take effect March 1.
While some policyholders will see their health premium costs drop by nearly 33 percent, others will be hit with rate hikes of up to 47 percent, according to Mega’s filing with the Maine Bureau of Insurance. The average rate increase across all policyholders amounts to 6.5 percent.
The rate change affects Mega’s individual policyholders, or people who purchase health coverage on their own rather than through an employer. The 6,990 policies involved provide coverage to about 12,600 people, including the policyholders’ dependents.
It is also worth noting that one of the loudest critics of Dirigo Health, created by the Maine Legislature in 2003 to offer an affordable option to small businesses or self-employed individuals, and a co-sponsor of PL 90/ LD 1333, termed out former Rep. Jonathan McKane of Newcastle, was selected to sit on Dirigo Health’s board.
More to come.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
“Understands”, a new ad by Priorities USA. “If Mitt Romney wins, the middle class loses.”
(ALMOST) BRONZE: Apparently Mitt is no judge of ability, as his horse- er- winning choice Michael Phelps in the 400m Men’s Individual Medley ended up with a dismal fourth place finish and Ryan Lochte took the gold for Team USA:
For nearly a decade Ryan Lochte chased Michael Phelps in the pool, picking up bronzes to Phelps’s golds. But all the while, Lochte has been closing the gap, second by precious second. On Saturday night, he raced past him on the stage Phelps has dominated since 2004. Lochte crushed Phelps and the rest of the field to win the 400-meter individual medley at the London Aquatics Centre, finishing in 4 minutes 5.18 seconds. Phelps finished fourth, more than four seconds behind Lochte.
Jan Ebeling, who will be riding Ann’s horse Rafalca, resents the idea that dressage is considered elitist — especially given his own modest background. In an interview at the Olympic Park, he explained that there’s not as much money involved as people might think.
“If you look at our team, there’s nobody who’s a millionaire. When I grew up we had no money. I worked my butt off. I cleaned stalls. People saw the talent and would let me ride their horses. Money is not something that defines dressage. It’s something you can do with a normal budget.”
Apparently Jan heard about Mitt’s 2011 sit-down with unemployed Floridians, in which Romney infamously admitted that “he is unemployed, too.”
GOLD (STAR): This one actually doesn’t go to Team Romney, but to FLOTUS Michelle Obama.
As a lesson in good natured statesmanship – if not to say simple manners – it was a masterclass.
For Michelle Obama cast aside stuffy protocol to join in the fun and games to celebrate today’s opening of the Olympic games with more than 1,000 children.
The First Lady met the children – most of them from U.S. military families – in the grounds of Winfield House, the official residence of the U.S. ambassador in London. She was joined by David Beckham and Olympic gold-medal sprinter Carl Lewis who signed autographs.
She said: “I’m so excited,” after jogging to the stage as a marching band played the University of Florida fight song. “I am thrilled to be here on London for the 2012 Olympic games. I am proud to be leading the U.S. delegation to the opening ceremony.”
Mrs Obama, who later tried out sports including tug-of-war and football alongside the children, offered a tribute to military families who had been invited to take part in the event.
“The military families who are joining us from U.S. bases that are stationed here in the U.K., we are so grateful for your service because you all sacrifice so much – you as kids, your mums, your dads,” said the First Lady. “You sacrifice so much for this country and we are so very proud of you.”
Not to disagree with The Standard, but imo Mitt wasn’t the only Romney being schooled by Michelle- Ann could take a lesson here on how to talk TO people and not DOWN to people.
NOTE: An “Honorable Mention” must be awarded to host city London for this moment celebrating universal healthcare during last night’s opening ceremony:
“Perhaps not surprisingly in a country where healthcare reform is so controversial, it was the high-profile presence of the NHS that stunned many American writers.
After all, the idea of state-control of healthcare is demonised as “socialised medicine” with scare stories of “death panels” touted by top – usually Republican – political leaders.
Certainly the US equivalent, which would be dancing health insurance corporate executives, was hard to imagine.”
Well, that’s a wrap on Romney’s Bombing of London! One wonders what missteps Mitt will make, as he arrives in Israel later today.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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