Attorney General Janet Mills Addresses 2014 ME Dem Convention (Video, Transcript)

Posted on June 2, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Attorney General Janet Mills Addresses 2014 Maine Democratic Convention (speech as prepared)

      Attorney General Janet T. Mills
      Remarks to the Maine Democratic Convention
      Saturday, May 31, 2014, Bangor Maine

        Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you members of the Maine Democratic Party.

        Thank you, Matt Dunlap, the hardest working, most productive Secretary of State we have ever had!

        Thank you, Ben Grant and Mary Erin Casale for your leadership and difficult work during good times and bad. And for bringing back a well-deserved majority in the Maine State Legislature!

        Folks, it’s May 31st. The ice is finally out, in most of the state. The lakes and ponds are stocked, the sidewalks smelling of lilacs at last. In western Maine the mowing has begun. We have shaken off the snows of January, the hardships of a frigid February, as we enjoy a long delayed spring and commence the annual recycling of goods at neighborhood yard sales.

        Our long wintry nightmare is over. And this year our recycling starts right at the Blaine House!

        No one deserves this fresh, fruitful season more than we do, you and I.

        It has taken courage to weather the storm.

        During cold and difficult times over the past three and a half years, I have seen many acts of courage.

        I have watched as the brave co-chairs of Appropriations, Democrats Sen. Hill and Rep. Rotundo (the first time both chairs have been women), worked all night, many nights, writing budgets from scratch, preserving funding for our schools, saving local fire and police services and life-saving social programs, while the Governor, refusing to write a budget at all, eschewed governing and headed for Jamaica to play golf….and then accuse the entire legislature of “not working hard enough!”

        I saw people like Rep. Joan Welsh hold the line against mining rules and slack environmental enforcement that would destroy our natural resources, even sell them off to the highest bidder.

        I saw freshmen Reps. Ann Dorney and Sara Gideon bravely, patiently, persistently push to reintroduce and enact legislature that will save the lives of people who overdose, despite a veto and a failure it to override last year.

        I saw Rep. Drew Gattine and Senators Colleen Lachowitz and Margaret Craven question the Commissioner of Health and Human Services repeatedly about why her budget was no longer about health or human services but about electioneering, auctioning off social services and about sweetheart business deals funded by programs to feed children.

        I saw women and men—Democrats—stand up for women’s rights on the floor of the House and the Senate, against a governor who vetoed every reasonable measure to protect the health of Maine families.

        I saw them fight valiantly against this Governor’s veto of Rep. Jane Pringle’s bipartisan bill (LD 1247) to ensure that thousands of low-income women have preventive health services, cancer screenings, annual physicals, birth control, pap tests and health information, saying, after he had vetoed the bills that would cover them with insurance, “they can go buy insurance!?” “Let them eat cake!” the man says.

        I heard Paul LePage say he is dead set against abortion because he was one of 18 children. Seriously. So he believes women should be forced to bear children against their will, regardless of hardship, regardless of sexual assault, regardless of circumstances?

        I saw our Democratic party work to raise the minimum wage, in a state where 60 percent of minimum wage workers are women, while this Governor tried to actually lower the working wage for young people.

        I listened to Gov. LePage give lip service to domestic violence while pulling the rug out from those same women and children seeking emergency help from General Assistance.

        I watched as our Democratic leadership cried foul when this Governor prevented the DEP from protecting Maine children from toxic household chemicals, claiming that BPA is not harmful, saying: “…[I]t gives off a chemical similar to estrogen. So the worst case is some women may have little beards.”

        Maybe he still thinks, like some of the Republican leadership, that “Women are from Venus, men are still from Mars!”

        This is worse than junk science, junk politics. It is junk governance.

        Governing is not a game of Candy Crush or Farmville.
        It is not played in a sand box, throwing dirt in people’s faces.
        It is not done from a golf course in Jamaica.

        Governing is about leading—by words, by deeds and by example.
        It is about helping, not hurting. It is about working hard.

        It is about taking us through difficult winter storms and not giving up on the courage, the heart and the soul of Maine people.

        That is why, come next winter, I will be proud to stand with our new Governor, Mike Michaud, who will lead with integrity, experience and example.

        Let us work as hard as we can, through the summer and the fall, to reelect our courageous Democrats to the Maine Legislature, repair the reputation of our state, restore the voice of the people, renew faith in our government and elect a governor who will not leave Maine people out in the cold ever again.

        Thank you.


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Democratic Radio Address of Rep. Jane Pringle (Windham): Provide Access to Life-Saving Care to 70,000 Mainers

Posted on March 22, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Audio link here.

    Expansion would create 4,400 jobs, more than a half billion dollars in economic activity

jane pringleOur state has the opportunity to expand the security of health care coverage to 70,000 Mainers. It’s an opportunity that we can’t afford to pass up.

Good morning. I’m Representative Jane Pringle of Windham. Thank you for tuning in.

I’m serving in the Legislature because I want more Mainers to have access to health care.

I was a primary care doctor for 36 years and was also the medical director of a clinic that served many working-class patients. I saw the number of uninsured Mainers growing and how these Mainers were harmed by their lack of coverage. They could not get the care they needed until they were in crisis, and sometimes not until it was too late to save their lives.

It doesn’t have to be this way. If we accept the federal government’s offer, Mainers will be healthier, health care costs will go down for all of us and our economy will benefit. In fact, health care expansion is expected to create 4,400 jobs and generate more than a half billion dollars in economic activity in Maine by 2016.

Over the course of my career, I learned that some illnesses result from genetics and others from habits. But two-thirds of the time, the reasons are unclear; it’s not a result of something we did wrong. Fortunately, medical science has found many treatments to cure and manage these illnesses. The sad thing is that not everyone has access to care that can save lives.

When I first learned that some leaders in Maine were against health care expansion, I thought it was because the Legislature didn’t have enough people with health care backgrounds who saw firsthand the consequences of having to go without care.

I’ve since heard arguments about how people could have health care if they just worked a little harder, got an additional job or were just more motivated.

Imagine coming to me as your doctor and telling me about having chest pain and trouble breathing. And what if I asked you whether you had worked hard enough that day to deserve to have me care for you?

My profession’s code of ethics calls for me to care for you – regardless of who you are and what you may or may not have done to be in your particular situation.

But right now, our state is denying health care coverage to 70,000 Mainers, including 2,700 veterans.

Their numbers include Mainers who struggle with serious and chronic illnesses like multiple sclerosis, diabetes and cancer.

Their numbers include Mainers who work hard in jobs that don’t provide health care insurance: custodians who clean up after us, servers who wait on us, cashiers who are on their feet all day and Mainers who try to piece together a living by doing carpentry and odd jobs.

Ten-thousand five-hundred very low-income Mainers lost their coverage at the start of this year because of Maine’s failure to expand health care. They are eligible for neither MaineCare nor insurance on the federal health care exchange.

The others – who are also low-income – do not qualify for subsidies on the exchange even though people with greater earnings do qualify. It’s because we didn’t expand health care as anticipated by the Affordable Health Care Act.

We do have the ability to make a difference for these Mainers – to provide access to life-changing health care that can reduce disability, help more people work and – yes – save lives.

We have the power to do this. We just have to make the right choice.

Thank you for listening. This is Representative Jane Pringle of Windham.

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(UPDATED) Maine Democrats Urge Support for Medicaid Expansion Bill LD 1066

Posted on May 29, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

UPDATE: Now that the Senate Republicans stood with Governor LePage and today refused to override last week’s veto, LD 1066, “An Act To Increase Access to Health Coverage and Qualify Maine for Federal Funding”, is going to be taken up by the HHS Committee as early as tomorrow.

(Originally posted April 2, 2013)

Rep. Linda Sanborn (D-Gorham) introduces LD 1066, “An Act To Increase Access to Health Coverage and Qualify Maine for Federal Funding”

On March 20th, Democrats held a press conference introducing LD 1066, “An Act To Increase Access to Health Coverage and Qualify Maine for Federal Funding”. If Maine accepts the federal health care dollars to cover nearly 70,000 people, the state will save $690 million over the next decade, according to the non-partisan Kaiser Foundation and the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government will fully pay for the coverage for three years. Federal funding will gradually reduce to 90 percent after the first three years. States may opt-out of the program at any time.

Here is a clip of sponsor Rep. Dr. Linda Sanborn, a retired family physician, at the press conference:

    “Accepting these federal dollars to get health care to more Maine people is the right prescription for Maine. Maine has an opportunity to cover more people and save millions of dollars currently spent to treat uninsured people in emergency rooms.”

She was joined by Maine Medical Association President Dr. Dieter Kreckel and bill co-sponsors Rep. Jane Pringle (Windham), a retired primary care doctor and medical clinic director (VIDEO), Rep. Anne Graham (Yarmouth), a pediatric nurse practitioner, Rep. Ann Dorney (Norridgewock), a family doctor, and Sen. Geoff Gratwick (Bangor):

    “Building a strong economy and a strong middle class means making sure people have the health care they need, when they need it, at an affordable cost. Accepting federal funds to increase health coverage will strengthen Maine’s economy and provide health coverage to thousands of hard-working Mainers.”

Today, Speaker of the House Mark Eves gave strong backing to the measure that would authorize Maine to accept federal health care dollars to cover nearly 70,000 Maine families. More than 50 people came to testify in support of the bill. The Health and Human Services Committee will vote on the measure in the coming weeks.

Here is his prepared testimony delivered during the public hearing before the Health and Human Services Committee.

    mark eves
    Good afternoon, Senator Craven, Rep. Farnsworth and distinguished members of the Health and Human Services Committee.

    I am Rep. Mark Eves of North Berwick — and I have the honor of serving as the Speaker of the Maine House.

    Thank you for allotting me the time to testify on this very critical issue to our state.

    I am here to testify in support of LD 1066, “An Act to Increase Access to Health Coverage and Qualify Maine for Federal Funding.” I’d like to thank the bill sponsors, especially Rep. and Dr. Linda Sanborn of Gorham, for bringing this very important measure forward. Thank you to the co-sponsors Sen. Saviello and Sen. Woodbury for speaking today.
    LD 1066 will take the federal government up on its offer to fully pay for health care for tens of thousands of more Maine people, while saving the state $690 million over the course of a decade.

    It’s a bargain and it’s a good deal.

    It will mean health and economic security for so many more Mainers.

    It will bring down the cost of health care for all Maine people and our hospitals.

    The arguments to support this measure are sound and strong. The doctors, the small business owners, the working families, the veterans, the hospitals, the economists, and the experts that are here today will make that case for you.

    But today, as you listen to these individuals, I urge you to think about why you came to Augusta. Why you ran for office. I’ve talked with many of you. I know you, like me, came here to serve the people in your community.
    You came here to make a difference in the lives of our community members.

    Speaker of the House Mark Eves (N Berwick) addressing media, flanked by Senate President Justin Alfond (Portland) and House Majority Leader Seth Berry (Bowdoinham)

    Speaker of the House Mark Eves (N Berwick) addressing media, flanked by Senate President Justin Alfond (Portland) and House Majority Leader Seth Berry (Bowdoinham)

    Now is your opportunity with this bill – in this committee – with your vote. You can begin to make a difference right now.

    You can change the lives of 70,000 people in our state by giving their family access to a family doctor: A working father who can’t afford to pay for his heart medicine; an older Mainer struggling to pay for medicine or food; a veteran who can’t afford their insulin.

    You can not only witness history, you can participate in it.

    As a member of this committee, I heard regularly about the importance of health coverage and the difference that it made in people’s lives. I remember clearly the working father with a heart condition who spoke eloquently to our committee about the fact that MaineCare had saved his life and allowed him to have access to the medication he needed to stay healthy in order to work and care for his children. I remember the formerly uninsured young woman in her 20’s who had been unable to manage her diabetes. She was in and out of the hospital on a regular basis until she received access to MaineCare and was able to receive the preventive care and medical supplies that she needed to control her diabetes and manage her health.

    You have the power to give 70,000 more Maine people the security of knowing that if they are sick, they can go to the doctor. As a health care provider, as a veteran member of the Health and Human Services Committee, and as a parent, I know what it means to have that security and I’ve seen and heard first hand what it means when you don’t.

    I know it’s tempting to allow this to become a partisan issue. But I urge you not to. I urge you to put partisanship and ideology aside. Look at the numbers, do the math, listen to the doctors, look at the facts, and listen to the people of Maine who are behind this bill. We have an opportunity to do what’s right for the people of our state and change the lives of so many. Let’s seize this opportunity together. Thank you.

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