Governor Paul LePage has blood on his hands over this one. In spite of the fact that the Maine legislature approved a Medicaid expansion plan with a bipartisan majority, LePage refused to allow it to become law.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) on Wednesday vetoed a GOP-sponsored proposal that would have extended health coverage to roughly 70,000 low-income residents in his state. The governor has been particularly resistant to Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, which intends to extend public insurance benefits to additional poor Americans who struggle to afford the cost of health coverage. This is the third time he has rejected it.
The state’s Democratic-controlled legislature has repeatedly attempted to get LePage to expand the program. The newest expansion bill was spearheaded by two moderate Republicans and passed with bipartisan support — but it ultimately didn’t matter to the fiercely anti-Obamacare governor, who once called the Affordable Care Act “the degradation of our nation’s premier health care system” and said he wouldn’t lift a finger to implement it.
Even though the federal government would cover the full cost of the first year of the expansion, and up to 90 percent of the cost after that, LePage is still wary to implement the policy. He’s one of a handful of Republican leaders who claim that the government can’t be trusted to follow through on its funding promise.
“Proponents of this bill tout ‘free’ federal money and unspecified state ‘savings’ with no backup for these claims,” LePage said in a statement. “It is shortsighted to think federal funds will always be available, especially after watching the federal deficit climb and witnessing continual delays and changes from Washington.”
It's even more short-sighted, Governor LePage, to deny needy people access to health care. Good luck explaining that one to families of dead folks who might otherwise have lived.
Here's a question for every Republican governor and legislator standing in the way of people's access to health care: Are you violating your residents' civil rights?