LePage says Medicaid expansion pressure, Democrats’ ‘censorship’ starts in Washington

Montréal le 22 avril 2013, visite du gouverneur de l’État du Maine, M. Paul LePage, déjeuner-conférence du CORIM

AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage on Wednesday railed against an expansion of Medicaid eligibility in Maine, calling it a disturbing national trend of damaging federal mandates.

LePage also linked what he called censorship he has experienced in the past two weeks to a pattern of the same at the national level, suggesting that citizens go home and arm themselves if it continues.

“Expanding Medicaid? That’s not being run locally, that’s being run from Washington,” said LePage to reporters Wednesday at the State House, according to a report of the exchange by WCSH. “Are you that naive that you don’t realize who is pulling the strings? This is being run by our congressional delegation. … If I thought it was local, it would be no problem.”

The issue of expanding Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act has been simmering in state government for months. Under the law, the federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of the Medicaid expansion, which would provide health insurance for some 70,000 Mainers, for the first three years. That funding level gradually would recede to 90 percent by 2020.

Legislative Democrats tried to force the expansion this month by linking it to a plan championed by LePage to make a final payment to Maine’s hospitals on hundreds of millions of dollars in past Medicaid debt. LePage vetoed that package last week. The veto was upheld Wednesday in the Senate, and both the governor and Democrats are preparing stand-alone bills to advance the hospital debt payment and Medicaid expansion, respectively.

“This is a national problem and it’s a direction the country is going in that we should be very concerned about,” said LePage.

LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett said later Wednesday that the governor is more concerned about more than 3,000 people who are on waiting lists for social services in Maine.

“Everyone agrees that the hospital debt needs to be paid for,” said Bennett. “The governor’s issue has always been the long-term stability and affordability of a program and ensuring the most needy are covered.”

The governor also continued his criticism of Democrats for what he called “censorship” stemming from a May 19 Appropriations Committee meeting at which LePage arrived unannounced and was not allowed to speak by the committee chairwoman, Sen. Dawn Hill, D-York.

LePage’s claims of censorship continued last week when he was asked to remove a television he had placed outside his office, despite the fact Democrats invited him to take the issue to the Legislative Council, which has authority over alterations to the State House. In protest, LePage worked from the Blaine House late last week and early this week before returning to his office Wednesday.

Democrats have responded by saying that they only want LePage held to the same rules as everyone else.

LePage linked those issues to what he portrayed as a similar pattern of censorship at the national level, according to a report by the Portland Press Herald.

“The minute we start stifling our speech, we might as well go home, roll up our sleeves and get our guns out,” said LePage.

Bennett declined to elaborate on what LePage meant by that statement.

What do you think of this story?

Login to post comments

In order to make comments, you must create a subscription.

In order to comment on SunJournal.com, you must hold a valid subscription allowing access to this website. You must use your real name and include the town in which you live in your SunJournal.com profile. To subscribe or link your existing subscription click here.

Login or create an account here.

Our policy prohibits comments that are:

  • Defamatory, abusive, obscene, racist, or otherwise hateful
  • Excessively foul and/or vulgar
  • Inappropriately sexual
  • Baseless personal attacks or otherwise threatening
  • Contain illegal material, or material that infringes on the rights of others
  • Commercial postings attempting to sell a product/item
If you violate this policy, your comment will be removed and your account may be banned from posting comments.

Advertisement

Comments

 's picture

"Bennett declined to

"Bennett declined to elaborate on what LePage meant by that statement." She was later heard saying "I have the worst job in these United States."

AL PELLETIER's picture

As I've written many times

I hope she gets paid very well to try to make him look somewhere near rational. This time she simply ran out of excuses.

DONALD FERLAND's picture

How could she elaborate? Is

How could she elaborate? Is she in his head? Besides she probably couldn't get time to find out what he was thinking when he said it so she could put a positive spin on it....not that there was a positive spin to put on it.....

DONALD FERLAND's picture

Ok so the governor is more

Ok so the governor is more concerned about the 3,000 on waiting lists for services yet he gave the rich a tax cut, cut the services even more, and cut funding for the services....he considers that concern? It's time for a REALITY check governor because you sure are not living in the real world.

"Arm yourselves"...ummmm I would think that could be construed as a threat toward the federal government....isn't that against the law?

And has anyone noticed how the staunchest of LePage supports haven't been commenting as much lately?

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

The Heritage Foundation

The Heritage Foundation writes a letter to Tea Party leaders telling them to provoke scandals and right on time our great leader comes up with a TV outrage and now a conspiracy. Two things I want to know. Who is he planning to shoot when he says he will be getting out the guns and is craziness a grounds for impeachment of a Maine governor??

Jason Theriault's picture

Imagine

If someone take LePage seriously, and starts shooting democrats.

 's picture

The Governor sounds

The Governor sounds dilussional,paranoid,and dangerous. Even if he were joking about taking up guns,in this day and age,that is very irresponsible.The people of Maine who still think he is some kind of Super-hero are just not seeing how much damage he is doing to us.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

It's time to go home roll up our sleaves and..........

How much more evidence does the Legislature need, to determine that LePage is suffering some sort of mental condition. Along with showing obvious signs of being delusional, now he is starting to act completely "Paranoid". How else do you explain his directive to go home and "arm yourselves".
All kidding aside, my future and the futures of every citizen of this State, will be affected financially as well as domestically by what LePage does or doesn't do. Evidently we have to wait until he pulls some irreversible disaster with State or Federal funds, before corrective action is taken.
I for one can't afford to take such a chance on my future, having LePage in charge of any aspect of my future scares the hell out of me. We as a State deserve better. Its time to remove this "wing nut". It's time to go home, roll up our sleeves and get the idiot replaced before it's to late...................

Thomas Hamilton's picture

Get the guns out?

Get the guns out? Good grief!

But medicaid only pays about 1/4 to 1/3 the actuarial cost of medical treatment.

Jason Theriault's picture

LOL

The Democrats are literally driving him insane. This should be, at the very least, and interesting 500+ days.

Advertisement

Stay informed — Get the news delivered for free in your inbox.

I'm interested in ...