By Gov. Paul R. LePage
What follows is the text of a radio address delivered Sept. 20.
If we are going to save the American health care system, we need your help, and we need it now.
I have been in close contact with many people working on this issue in Washington, D.C. We’re nearing the number of votes needed to end the national nightmare of Obamacare. A new piece of legislation could be voted on this week.
I don’t need to tell you how damaging Obamacare has been. Premiums are skyrocketing between 20 and 40 percent again, and deductibles are about to jump significantly. Everyone who pays for their insurance knows what is happening.
Democrats are trying to use the massive failure of Obamacare to have the federal government completely take over the health care system. Folks, if we don’t do something now, that could happen.
This week, we have one last shot to get the votes in the United States Senate to save the health care system from total collapse or a big government takeover.
Unfortunately, Maine’s two senators have been opposing efforts to reform Obamacare since day one. Sens. Collins and King just want another massive expansion of Medicaid. They want to give free health care to able-bodied people who should be working and contributing toward their health insurance.
They are ignoring their own state’s disastrous history of expanding Medicaid in 2002.
Medicaid expansion did not decrease the number of uninsured Mainers, and it did not reduce emergency room utilization. It increased charity care, and it racked up a $750 million debt to our hospitals.
Even worse, Medicaid expansion nearly destroyed the state’s budget. After I took office, we paid off the hospitals, and we fixed our Medicaid system.
No one who is currently on Medicaid will lose their eligibility. That is simply false rhetoric.
We know that Maine cannot afford another expansion of Medicaid for able-bodied people. This new welfare entitlement will cost taxpayers $500 million over the next five years.
I urge you to call Collins and King and ask them to vote for the Senate’s bill to reform Obamacare. Maine benefits greatly from this bill. Even though they don’t admit it, Collins and King must see that the system is failing.
It’s time for our elected officials in Washington to lift this terrible burden from hardworking Mainers and the American people.
Collins and King must stop their excuses and politically motivated delays. They must vote to save the health care system for Mainers and all Americans. Please call them and tell them to do the right thing.
Paul R. LePage is the 74th and current governor of Maine.