Yesterday, we brought you the story of a real death panel, the Florida Legislature, whose continued refusal to expand Medicaid is literally — the literal kind of literally — killing people. Or not, say the teabaggers, because after all the poors can always go to the ER, and then we can bitch about all those lazy poors clogging the ER. What we’re getting at here is that Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R-I Got Mine) vetoed a bill to expand Medicaid in that state Wednesday, explaining that there’s just no way that Maine can afford the expansion, which will be paid for 100% by the Federal Government for the first three years, and 90% until 2022. It’s his third veto of Medicaid expansion, and will leave over 24,000 Maine residents (out of 1.3 million Mainers total) in the coverage gap between existing Medicaid eligibility and the income level for subsidized plans on the ACA exchange. We sure hope those folks appreciate what a great chance this is for them to declare themselves free of the oppression of healthcare!
LePage explained in his veto message that Maine can’t afford to expand Medicaid, and that there’s no way he’d ever trust the federal government to actually provide funding, since all government is full of liars. Why, for instance, just look at the governor of Maine!
“The expansion offered through Obamacare would have a disastrous impact on Maine’s budget, as well as those truly needy individuals, our disabled and elderly, who rely today on the scarce resources in our program,” LePage wrote. “Maine has been down this road before, and we must learn from previous experience.”
While Medicaid expansion had bipartisan support in the Maine Legislature, there are not enough votes to override the veto.
For what it’s worth, the bill Lepage vetoed was written by two Republican state senators, and includes provisions aimed at winning GOP support as well as measures aimed at cost containment. It also included a clause allowing the state to back out of the expansion when the federal portion of support is reduced, although we’re not sure who’d want to be the legislator to brag about throwing people off health insurance (who are we kidding; plenty would love to say that).
LePage is seeking reelection this fall. Yr. Wonkette can think of over 24,000 very good reasons he should be replaced with someone who’ll sign a Medicaid expansion bill.