Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Yesterday Maine Voted For Progressive Healthcare-- Ohio Didn't


There was one dark side to the election results Tuesday night: Ohio. Issue 2 would have required state agencies to not pay more for prescription drugs than the federal Department of Veterans Affairs. Big Pharma put together a massive $60 million confuse-the-voters media campaign... that worked. Issue 2 lost-- and lost big: 474,741 (20.72%) to 1,816,074 (79.28%). Ohio voters overwhelmingly decided to be ripped off by drug companies and pay more for pharmaceuticals. It lost every single county-- even the most progressive blue counties like Cuyahoga, Franklin, Lucas and Athens. Are voters there more vulnerable to false claims? Maine's weren't. Well... most Mainers weren't.

Maine had their own ballot proposition-- also numbered "2"-- and it was whether or not to expand medicaid eligibility, something the state legislature approved 5 times, only to see the Trumpist governor, Paul LePage veto it each time. Tuesday Maine voted 202,329 (59%) to 140,808 (41%) in favor. From Portland, Lewiston, Auburn, Scarborough, Brunswick, Bangor and Augusta to Bath, Winslow, Belfast and Brewer, it won in all of the most populated townships.

Writing for the NY Times right after the election was called for the YES side, Abby Goodnough reported that the vote was a rebuke to LePage. what it does is allows something like 80,000 more Mainers to qualify for Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. "Maine," she wrote, "will be the 32nd state to expand the program under the health law, but the first where voters, not governors or legislators, decided the issue. Other states whose leaders have resisted expanding the program were closely watching the campaign, particularly Utah and Idaho, where newly formed committees are working to get Medicaid expansion on next year’s ballots."
LePage and other opponents, including several Republicans in the state Legislature, said Medicaid expansion would burden the taxpayers and the state budget, and described it as a form of welfare.

“The truth is that Medicaid expansion will just give able-bodied adults free health care,” Mr. LePage said in a recent radio address. “We don’t mind helping people get health care, but it should not be free. ‘Free’ is very expensive to somebody.”

...The health law gives states the option of allowing any citizen with income up to 138 percent of the poverty level-- $16,642 for an individual, $24,600 for a family of four-- to qualify for Medicaid, which states and the federal government both pitch in to pay for.

Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government picked up the cost of new enrollees under Medicaid expansion for the first three years and will continue to pay at least 90 percent. States cover a significantly larger portion of the expenses for the rest of their Medicaid population.

Maine’s Legislature, which is controlled by Democrats in the House and Republicans, by one vote, in the Senate, could try to block the referendum, but since it voted for Medicaid expansion five times already, supporters and opponents alike believe it is unlikely to meddle. And the governor has no authority to veto the outcome, although he could may try to delay putting it in place during his remaining year in office. And if Congress eventually succeeds in repealing the Affordable Care Act, states with expanded Medicaid will likely have to scale back their programs.
Governor Pig-Man (R-ME) announced today that he doesn't care what the voters said yesterday; he's not expanding Medicaid, challenging Maine to do something about it if they don't like it. This was his statement to Mainers today:
The last time Maine experimented with Medicaid expansion in 2002 under then-governor Angus King, it created a $750 million debt to hospitals, resulted in massive budget shortfalls every year, did not reduce emergency room use, did not reduce the number of uninsured Mainers and took resources away from our most vulnerable residents-- the elderly and the intellectually and physically disabled.

Credit agencies are predicting that this fiscally irresponsible Medicaid expansion will be ruinous to Maine’s budget. Therefore, my administration will not implement Medicaid expansion until it has been fully funded by the Legislature at the levels DHHS has calculated, and I will not support increasing taxes on Maine families, raiding the rainy day fund or reducing services to our elderly or disabled.
Goal ThermometerAs Assistant Majority Leader of Maine's state House of Representatives, Jared Golden issued a statement in response to LePage's defiance. "Mainers don’t leave each other behind. Despite any efforts by Governor LePage and his allies, we will not abandon the families who, for too long, have had to choose between putting food on the table or paying for needed medical care. Access to affordable healthcare is a basic promise to Maine and we moved towards fulfilling it last night. Every representative who continues to oppose that right should know they're on notice by the people of Maine." Jared has been endorsed by Blue America and if you'd like to help him defeat Trump rubber stamp Bruce Poliquin, please click on the Blue America congressional ActBlue thermometer on the right.

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At 5:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

all this proves is that voters are just stupid.

le page has been elected SINCE obamneycare was gifted to health insurance and phrma... I'm sure voters knew he was against Medicaid expansion. Now they vote FOR Medicaid expansion. What are the odds they'll recall le page over this? zero!

And ohio... well, I don't know if voters there are THAT MUCH dumber than in maine (probably), but I certainly wouldn't trust the counts. ohio hasn't counted fairly in 20 years. But as multiple courts have found in that span, the counting of votes only hurts the loser... and therefore should not be done.

Evil shitheads get elected and are guaranteed re-elections even when they kill their own. check.
millions vote but nobody cares if the counts are correct. check.
courts agree. check.
money is speech. check.
corporations are the law. check.

Only in America.

At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember Sue Lowden! Governor Le Page doesn't!

I still marvel at the deafening silence emanating from the AMA and other related medical professional organizations. You'd think that such blatant Republicans would be complaining about how the Federal Government is out to destroy their professions. Isn't that against the Republican Constitution?


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