Now Maine pays other state's Medicaid bills
Regarding my friend, Representative Jarrod Crockett’s, letter explaining why he chose to support the veto of the Medicaid Bill, here are a few things his fellow Republican representative, Lori Fowler (Vassalboro, Windsor, and part of Augusta), had to say about the vote.
“The federal government would have paid 100 percent of the of expansion for the first three years, with the amount tapering down to no less than 90 percent by 2021.
In addition, 10,000 Mainers who now are slated to lose all health coverage on Jan. 1, would have been fully covered by this program. The end result is that 70,000 people will now treat the hospital emergency room as their primary health care provider, at a cost of millions of dollars to both hospitals and consumers.
LePage's veto did not save Maine taxpayers one cent. If anything, our health care costs will increase because emergency room care is far more expensive than seeing a family doctor and getting access to preventative care. While other states have done the smart thing by accepting federal health care dollars, here in Maine we will miss the benefit of having less expensive and more comprehensive health care for 70,000 of our neighbors.”
Representative Fowler called the actions of some of her fellow Republicans ‘mind-boggling’ and praised Republican Assistant Minority Leader, Senator Katz (R. for Augusta) for standing up with her against a lot of pressure. Quotes from the Morning Sentinel, June 29, 2013.
The only argument I have seen against accepting the Medicaid expansion with any miniscule claim to a basis in reality is that the Federal Government will not live up to its promise of support for the program in the future. But that is like arguing that it will cut Social Security benefits. Republicans tried that and stepped on the third rail. When millions of Americans are living better lives because of the program who will vote to cut it? And even if they do and succeed, millions of Americans will have been healthier for coverage in the interim. As the inimitable Bill Nemitz recently remarked, “So to those who now cheer LePage for throwing yet another monkey wrench into the "welfare state," enjoy watching other states – including tea-party darling Gov. Jan Brewer's Arizona – spend Maine's money.”
Rep. Crockett may have voted against a procedural issue, but in effect he voted against quality of life for 70,000 of our fellow Mainers. Other Republicans did not.