LePage’s Obstinate Stand on Medicaid Expansion and Insurance Exchanges Will Cost Mainers
Now that the Affordable Care Act is the Law of the Land, reasonable people figure it’s time to put aside politics and posturing and make sure Mainers get the access to affordable health care that they need and deserve.
And yet, with 121,000 constituents without insurance, Governor LePage and GOP legislators are lying low, putting us behind the eight ball by not taking federal dollars to expand Medicare (aka MaineCare) and by stalling on setting up health insurance exchanges.
The governor’s willfulness is hard to understand. The fact is that the expansion of Medicaid will not cost the state anything at first, with the federal government picking up 100% of the cost from 2014 through 2016, and 90% of the cost thereafter. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, it should actually save the state between $65 million and $118 million over six years.
The governor has also postponed until after the November elections setting up health insurance exchanges to assist consumers with shopping for affordable private health insurance coverage and subsidies to support the purchase of health insurance for families earning less than 400% of the federal poverty level.
Postponing the exchanges likely means the federal government will determine Maine’s exchange plan instead of Mainers, thus ceding state control of the process and the end result to the federal government, an irony that can’t be lost on the governor and his GOP “fear the Fed” allies in the legislature
Republican leaders ignore the fact that ObamaCare will help our economy by putting more money in the pockets of working people and by helping people pay for critical care. The logical way to go forward and implement this law in a common sense manner is to send leaders to Augusta who will make sure hard-working, middle class families and small businesses get the health care they deserve.