Top Democrats in the Legislature called Governor Paul LePage’s ideological veto of a bipartisan plan to expand life-saving health care to 70,000 Mainers harmful to Maine people and the economy.  

 The veto comes on the heels of a bipartisan budget proposal that funds DHHS wait list services for people with disabilities, addressing a key argument LePage has used as foil for his opposition to health care for Maine people.

 “We have a bipartisan plan for life-saving health care for tens of thousands of Mainers. It creates jobs, it save lives, it saves money,” said Speaker of the House Mark Eves of North Berwick. “Governor LePage continues to stand in the way despite our good faith effort to collaborate and address concerns raised by opponents. Because of this deal from the federal government, we don’t have to pick winners and losers. We urge our Republican colleagues to join us in overturning this ideological veto.”

 The federal government has offered to pay 100 percent of the cost of health care for tens of thousands of Mainers under the Affordable Care Act, including nearly 2,700 veterans. Key moderate Republicans and Democrats have worked on a bipartisan plan, LD 1487, to accept these funds.

 In addition to providing health insurance to low and middle income Mainers, the bill would result in more than $1 million per day in economic activity.  It would create 4,400 jobs, at a time when Maine’s job growth is among the worst in the nation, particularly in rural areas.

 “The governor’s veto message is a direct message to the Mainers whose health care has become too costly and out of reach,” said Senator Troy Jackson of Allagash, the Senate Majority Leader. “He’s told them, ‘don’t get sick’! Instead of trying to help them, he has, once again, pulled the ladder up behind him.”

 The bipartisan plan includes a managed care program to lower the cost of health care and hold government and providers accountable for making sure people have access to appropriate care at an appropriate time, while also ensuring fair prices. It also puts in place a plan to reduce the wait list for home care services for Mainers with intellectual disabilities and adds two new Medicaid fraud investigators to step up fraud prosecutions.

 The Maine Senate will take up the veto in the coming days. An override would require two-thirds of  those Senators present and voting.

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