More than 15,000 to lose Medicaid coverage in January

AUGUSTA — Many states are gearing up to enroll more residents into Medicaid coverage starting in January. But thousands of Mainers are preparing to lose coverage this winter because of changes to the state's program and the decision not to expand coverage under the federal health care overhaul.

Health Care Maine
Clarke Canfield/Associated Press

Tom Ptacek sits in his office where he works as an advocate for homeless people in Portland. Ptacek, a U.S. Navy veteran, is among thousands of Mainers who stand to lose state health care coverage at the end of the year because of changes to the state

More than 15,000 low-income parents are expected to lose Medicaid coverage in January when changes to the state's Medicaid program kick in. An additional 10,500 adults with no dependent children and incomes less than $11,500 are facing the end of their coverage this winter even though they would have kept their coverage if the state had agreed to expand Medicaid.

Portland resident and U.S. Navy veteran Tom Ptacek is one of them.

Ptacek, 46, struggled to find work after serving in the Navy as a psychiatric technician. He worked the overnight shift at a gas station convenience store before leaving with the intention of finding a better job. But instead, he stumbled through rejection after rejection and eventually lost his home.

"What I didn't realize was that I had gotten to a place emotionally where my tank was empty," he said. "I just didn't have anything left and ... it took a couple weeks for me to build up the confidence to get out there and put applications in."

After a year in a homeless shelter, Ptacek received housing through a grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs. He now makes $40 a week working as an advocate for the homeless.

The cuts to Medicaid, administered as MaineCare in the state, were meant to address several financial challenges facing the program when Republican Gov. Paul LePage took office, said Mary Mayhew, Commissioner of Maine's Department of Health and Human Services. Several million dollars the state had been receiving from the federal government to support the program during the economic recovery dried up, she said.

"So we had to come in with a budget that looked across the board at eligibility, benefits and rates of reimbursement," Mayhew said.

President Barack Obama's Affordable Health Care Act lets states expand Medicaid to adults making up to 133 percent of the poverty level, or about $15,500 for an individual. The federal government offered to pay 100 percent of the costs for the expansion until 2016 when a portion of the costs would be shifted onto the state.

LePage vetoed the plan, calling it "welfare expansion" and saying the long-term costs of the program were unsustainable. The Democrat-led Legislature failed to get the two-thirds majority needed to override his veto.

The governor insisted that Maine shouldn't expand coverage to more people because the state's current system isn't working properly. LePage and legislative Republicans point to 3,100 disabled Mainers who need home- and community-based service but can't get funding for them under the current program.

But advocates say the loss of Medicaid coverage for low-income residents will be devastating and force them to seek care in emergency rooms at a much greater cost to the state.

More than 11,000 people were taken off the MaineCare rolls between February and May, according to the state Health Department. Many of the people who have and will lose their coverage will be eligible for federal subsidies to help them buy insurance on the new health care exchange beginning Oct. 1.

But 10,000 adults who lose MaineCare won't be eligible for these subsidies, making it impossible for them to buy insurance, advocates say. The federal health care law assumes that states will expand coverage to people making about $15,000, leaving a group of low-income people ineligible for the subsides.

Mayhew said that issue needs to be addressed at the federal level.

"The federal government set the parameters for how you could expand," she said. "It was an all-or-nothing question."

But advocates say the issue is bigger than the 10,000 who are going to lose access to MaineCare. Christine Hastedt, public policy director for Maine Equal Justice Partners, said 25,000 childless adults are also on a waiting list for MaineCare coverage.

"That means there are a lot of people under the poverty level who need this coverage," she said. "These 10,000 are going to lose coverage, but there are a lot of people .... under the poverty level who are not going to have access."

Patty Kidder and her husband, Roger, were among those hoping that the state expanded Medicaid. The Kidders, both 54, are on the waiting list for MaineCare after losing their coverage last year. Since Roger lost his job in 2009, the couple has been living on the $11,000 Patty makes preparing people's taxes out of their home.

Patty Kidder said her husband has frequent panic attacks that mimic heart attacks. But since losing their coverage, they're hesitant to go to the hospital because they worry about racking up hospital bills.

"We have to second-guess whether these extreme panic attacks are a heart attack that is going to kill him or anxiety," she said. "They tell you the quicker you get them to the hospital, the better their chance of survival and recovery. And yet, you're sitting there wondering, 'Do I go or do I stay? What do I do?'" she said.

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FRANK EARLEY's picture

Think what the Roman Empire would have been.........

Think what the Roman Empire would have been like with LePage at the wheel. I'm sorry, but all these reports of people loosing health coverage, no insurance available, everything we're hearing now, is just the beginning. Paul LePage has single handedly destroyed any sort of help network for less fortunate people in the State.
Since his first shots at the poor, we saw the writing on the wall. It became so obvious that you can't have a "Big Money", "BIg Business Governor running or deciding on programs meant to help those who can't make his life more comfortable.What ever he says or does, is allegiance is with those with the money. Much the same way a child raised in hunger grows up to have a ravenous appetite. Anyone else see the irony in this? Our present Governor has no clue as to what the people of Maine need. Only his idea"s on what they can live without. Problem is, a lot of people won't survive LePages idea's. That's a problem that will become more and more evident over time..............

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Rome fell, so will we

"By the third century, government spending and tax policies weakened the empire. However, it was political power struggles which wrought chaos upon Rome."

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Death of the Roman Empire: Is the US on the same path?

"The Roman Empire produced few exportable goods. Material innovation, whether through entrepreneurialism or technological advancement, all but ended long before the final dissolution of the Empire. Meanwhile the costs of military defense and the pomp of Emperors continued. Financial needs continued to increase, but the means of meeting them steadily eroded. In the end, due to economic failure."

MARK GRAVEL's picture

History as seen what happens

History as seen what happens to an overtaxed society before:

CRYSTAL WARD's picture

being poor is a crime ????

To many republicans being poor is a crime and poor people should be punished.
Why should they need to eat , feed their children or get medical care . So what if the working poor are working for very low wages --below poverty level and working several part time jobs -- it must be their own fault and they should be punished.
No health insurance for the poor -- it will be your own fault if you or your children get sick. Maine had sooooo much money it could give large tax cut to the richest Mainers but the poor can do without health care -- the rich really needed it more.
Have you seen the 100's of jobs they were going to make if they got the big tax cuts ???! NOT ME.
OK Republicans it is time to put up YOUR HEALTH CARE PLAN for these thousands of Mainers !! OPPS you do not have one do you ??? Its time to stop all your whining and complaining and tell us how you will get health care to these people -- or do you really believe they should have NO Health Care. Or is there some magic republican money tree that will just fund this ?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Let’s drop the pretentious

Let’s drop the pretentious attitude. As a whole, the Federal government spends nearly 25% GDP on federal programs. You can’t tell me that perhaps the government is not prioritizing spending properly.

Not a penny more from the taxpayer is what I say.

Bob White's picture

So are you telling me that I

So are you telling me that I am being rewarded because I went out and got a good paying job that has insurance and I am feeding my family? If you read your comment "To many republicans being poor is a crime and poor people should be punished" "do you really believe they should have NO Health Care. Or is there some magic republican money tree that will just fund this ?" Why should it be up to the government to supply this? If you and I can do this then why cant anyone? I don't look at a person with a lot of money and ask why don't you give me some NO I ask how can I do better for myself. "Give a person a fish he eats for a day teach him how to fish and he will eat for ever"

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Some people have been so

Some people have been so dumbed down by liberal entitlements they have to be taught how to EAT the damn fish.

Claudette Therriault's picture


People on SNAP cannot afford the Damn fish

Bob White's picture

Claudette are you kidding me?

Really they cant buy fish well maybe they should stop buying power drinks with the SNAP and any other assistant. I was using that as a figure of speech.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

If you were paying attention

If you were paying attention to Mr. White's post, 'he' caught the fish, remember?

Bob White's picture

I think your right if they

I think your right if they weren't told they have to eat and someone didn't give them food they would starve

MARK GRAVEL's picture

And to your comment I would

And to your comment I would add that when the taxpayer is footing your bills, you don’t get to have the same level of service that others get who earn their way.

I work 80 hr. a week to earn my pay. That is 80 hrs. I’m not with my family. There are clear limits to how much I’ll work for your family. The taxpayer as reached that limit.



And yet you choose to do this rather than to ride that wonderful gravy boat called welfare. What is preventing you from joining all those folks who have it easy and collect money for doing nothing? Could it be that welfare isn't as wonderful as you make it out to be?

Bob White's picture

Because I want more out of

Because I want more out of life and I strive to be a better person every day. I don't look for excuses for myself I take responsibility for my actions

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Yet I personally know

Yet I personally know individuals that will not earn money past the welfare threshold because they lose big benefits, like healthcare and food assistance. To them, it is a pay cut having to work past a certain amount. Hence, enter stage left generational dependency.


If I can do this

I am pondering your statement that says " if I can get a good job with health insurance why can't everybody?" . Why indeed. In this magical land that you live in there is nobody who is physically or mentally limited? Perhaps had your first grade IQ read 50 instead of 100 things might have turned out differently. Apparently, on your planet there is nobody who is sick, addicted or disabled either? Maybe if you had been struck by a bus and had to live the rest of your life in chronic pain , your outlook might not be so chipper. As a matter of fact, most of us are one brain aneurism away from being the poster child for the answer to that question. Furthermore, if you were afflicted in such a way that medicine might make it possible for you to go to work wouldn't you be happy that someone cared enough to help ? Why should the government do it? Who else would you have in mind ? All the charities and non-profits I know of are stretched to the max. In any case a functioning government is how civilized people run their community and taking care of the helpless is a function of a civilized community. We are human beings not turtles. Sadly, your statement has a "better you than me" lack of empathy to it or at least that is how it strikes me.

Bob White's picture

Your people always use the

Your people always use the "physically or mentally limited" obvious if a person has a legit reason then I say yes lets help. Go down to Tall Pines or even drive down town and see the rift raft that is taking advantage of us. I know 2 different types of people One who had a sports accident in college who is paralyzed from the neck down just like the actor Christopher Reeves was that man is a engineer and he has a job and he works. To me I would be for helping him and taking care of him but HE chooses to work hard. The other person I know cant work because she is to depress. She's not my best friend ( have been around her for many years) but I know a lot of people that have had a lot harder life and are functioning just fine maybe if someone would stop helping her then maybe she would help herself. Besides she's going to be depressed whether she is at home collecting or at working supporting herself. I have a relative that "cant work" because he has a back injury but gee he cuts and splits his wood and anything else he wants to do these are the people that I say we need to stop caring for so stop trying for the emotional heart strings I'm sure nobody wants to drop coverage for the people that really need it.


Catch 22

I don't disagree that some people game the system. And I support investigations that find these people and kick them off. I wonder, however, how you know that this particular bunch that is being thrown off because of their age meets that criteria. Please do not say you trust that DHHS has looked into each case and made that determination because they couldn't find their way out of a paper bag. I find it curious that you can say that you are for people who really need help getting it but don't care if some who do need help get kicked off. I too admire handicapped people who succeed in overcoming their problems but very few of them do that without some outside help. That , for me, is one more reason why we should help. You never know when that help will be the thing that kick starts a new outlook to try again. I have heard the term tough love used in this forum. People need to remember that term contains the word love; something seriously lacking in conservative views towards those less fortunate and that there is no equals sign in that expression. If you look down on caring as a tug at the heartstrings, I have to wonder what your life is like without emotion or caring. And if you do care about some people then why is that caring more valid than caring about those who have need?

Bob White's picture

Ok Claire

I'm willing to go with you and your statement " You never know when that help will be the thing that kick starts a new outlook to try again." as long as your willing to put a time frame on it and not make it a life long career.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I remember in high school we

I remember in high school we would get presented with moral dilemmas. For example, you were on a sinking ship. You managed to find a lifeboat. You have room to save to people. Whom would you save?

a. Two family members.
b. An old woman and a young child.

Most kids just kept saying they would save everyone, even though the problem statement said you cannot. I recon these people are liberals today.

I on the other hand would immediately say, my family members. Why, I was asked? Because they are family - period – I answered.

My priority is to my family first. It is called setting priorities.

Given that we have limited resources, perhaps the state should set priorities. Yes, some will go without.

 's picture

The best plan would be called

The best plan would be called competition. Last year there were just over 1,300 insurance companies in the U.S. that offered health plans. Of those, only 6 were allowed to sell to Mainers. I know, the average person can't be bothered to shop around for something that may require a little thinking but when you have a couple of people selling something, the price will stay high, when you have over a thousand, the price will come down. Knowing how the leftists hate free markets that can't possibly work.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

When you expect the insurance

When you expect the insurance company to pay for everything from A to Z, the price will stay high.

When pharmaceutical companies convince people they need a pill for everything, the price will stay high.



When it comes to health care and health insurance, there is no such thing. Most of the plans that are barred in the State of Maine are barred for a reason. One, I heard about had outrageous co-pays. If somebody can't afford health insurance does it make sense that they could afford a $10 thousand co-pay? Then there is the issue of mental health care and other kinds of coverage. Maine law requires this to be part of the coverage. Who would knowingly decide to pay extra for this coverage? Probably not the ones who will need it. Same goes for maternity coverage. Once you know you need that coverage it is too late to add it. Furthermore the whole premise of health insurance is the healthy pay for those who are not. That should extend to those issues. There are plenty of insurance bargains being offered in other states that are nothing more than insurance company rip-offs. While I know that some people might say that people should be allowed the choice, the way it works mostly is your employer decides for you. I already know people who have employer provided insurance plans that collect premiums but are AWOL when you need to file a claim. I don't agree that it is as simple as just letting the insurance market be a free for all, Consumer protection is a function of government too.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I once heard that money grows

I once heard that money grows on trees and that all politicians lookout for themselves. Wait, one of these statements is true.
Anyhow, perhaps that $10K deducible may be a better deal if I’m only looking for an inexpensive premium payment and a policy that only covers catastrophic illnesses and injuries.

Of course, you only heard about it and fail to paint the full picture.

Lastly, consumer protection is not government-funded healthcare for all. Most healthcare plans are clear on what they cover and don’t cover.

 's picture

you're the perfect example of

you're the perfect example of a leftist moonbat, full of excuses and criticism. Remember the breakup of AT&T in the early 80's? Before that happened no one made long distance calls, but once competition was introduced into the market the price came way down. It happens all the time.



Calling people names does not make your argument valid. It just makes you sound immature. I can't believe you are comparing making a long distance call, which by the way became a lot easier with the internet, with life saving care. I can forgo a call to England but not a cancer treatment. That is why there is no real competition in the medical care industry.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Clair presents all arguments

Clair presents all arguments in two forms.
1. The sky is falling argument – society will collapse if you cut spending.
2. The pendulum argument - insurance companies will rape and pillage if there is a free market, which does not exist by the way.

With all of the welfare spent

With all of the welfare spent by our Government in this nation, everyone should be eating prime rib. Once up on a time I believed that myth also, that the Dems were for the poor and the Repubs were for the rich.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

The axiom is that all

The axiom is that all politicians are for reelection. God forbid the people discover they really don’t need the government.

Its hard for me to sit back

Its hard for me to sit back listen to all the whining about Gov Lepage, when our current President gets a free ride from the main stream press from all the damage he's done to our country. From a wasted 800 Billion dollar stimulis package filled with union pork waisted projects, to the unpopular healthcare bill he forced on the American people. Recently he issued another waiver to all of the Congress Reps who passed
this piece of crap.The new healthcare law they are forcing on regular Americans is too expensive for them.
Real unemployment is way over 10%. The stock market is being pumped and primed by our government spending over $80 billion per month buying stock.
Governor Lepage can only do so much, with a Democratic legislature whos main goal is to see him fail.This crap about him not caring for the poor is a bunch of crap.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

How about our President show

How about our President show companion and leadership by not spending taxpayer money on vacations, which we don’t have in the first place, and repurpose that spending.

These compassionate liberals constantly dog republicans, yet the will be the first to defend the President for spending billions on vacations.

 's picture

So once again our gov has

So once again our gov has done something harmful to the poor people of Maine.Emergency room visits will cost the state so much more than Medicaid,and the people of Maine will pay for it in taxes. This is such a frightening concept,but LePage seems to want to get rid of the poor,one way or another.To harm those who served our country is beyond comprehension.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

The government hurt the

The government hurt the people by enabling the dependency class. That is when it all started. Charity should have never become institutionalized.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Another sky is falling

Another sky is falling argument similar to Clair's.



For all the flag waving and chest thumping and ceremonies that conservatives do when it comes to having their picture taken with war veterans, you would think they would show a little concern when one is living under a bridge or needs mental health care or medical care. But no. It is pull yourself up by your own bootstraps time, son. They will make sure he has the right to buy a gun to blow his brains out though. This kind of spending cut does nothing to save us money. It shifts the cost someplace else, creates a whole lot of social angst, and exacerbates the cost of medical care by increasing the least cost-effective and the least medically effective kind of care: charity care. It does give conservatives a platform to demonize the poor, create a wedge issue for the next campaign and to pretend to save taxpayer money, though.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

The sky is falling, the sky

The sky is falling, the sky is falling. We cannot afford to services all the needs of the poor. Perhaps it is time that you learn how to prioritize. Yes, that means some things need to be let go.

Bob White's picture

Wouldn't the person your

Wouldn't the person your describing be able to go to the VA?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I would think so, but then

I would think so, but then that takes away form "the sky is falling" argument.

Claudette Therriault's picture

Great Remark

You are so right Claire.

 's picture

As usual, an excellent and on the mark comment.

Keep up the good work.

Jen Holmes's picture

Have to start somewhere

I agree that we have to start somewhere to stop the bleeding this state. I feel that this time LePage is right when he said the current welfare system is not working so why would we expand it? We aren't heartless to want those that can work to go out and do so. Are there people that need to use it? Yes. Are there MANY that don't need to use and do? Yes. It's getting ridiculous. As far as people using the ER's time to put some limits on that as well. Do you really need to be in the ER at 4:30 in the afternoon for a sore throat? Why didn't you seek an appointment with a primary care physician? It's just getting out of control and we need to start to reel this in.

Bob White's picture

I agree John

Do like the people that have insurance...... Go out and earn it and not wait for someone to take care of you take care of yourself.

Claudette Therriault's picture


Try buying insurance when you make minimum wage???

Bob White's picture

Get a better paying job. Its

Get a better paying job. Its not hard to figure out. My daughter who just turned 16 was asking me about the minimum wage and how she could make more. She's 16 and she's figured it out its not our fault if people cant figure it out. Light a fire under their ass remember these 2 things. "Give a man a fish he eats for a day or teach him how to fish and he will eat for life" or " Don't feed the animals because they will become dependent" ( no I am not calling these people animals)

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Where did the notion

Where did the notion originate that minimum wage was ever intended to be a living wage? It is nothing more than a starting wage for low qualification inexperienced people whose pulse and IQ rates do not exceed room temperature. One can live off of minimum wage by working 2 and 3 jobs, but unfortunately, most people who are willing to settle for minimum wage in the long term are just not that ambitious.

Claudette Therriault's picture

and people who think that way

have an even lower IQ

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Apology accepted.

Apology accepted.

Claudette Therriault's picture

For all of you who think

For all of you who think everyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps.....I have a quote for you... "Walk a mile in my shoes.." Not necessarily mine, but anyone's whose been on one type of welfare or other, or have been stuck in a minimum wage jobs.

It's so easy to judge all people on welfare or in low paying jobs. If you were to lose your job, or become disabled, how many lost paychecks are you away from welfare?? Would you be able to afford health insurance? Do you know how embarrasing it is to use a food stamp card in public?? Try is sometime!

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

I'd work 3 minimum wage jobs

I'd work 3 minimum wage jobs before I'd go on food stamps, but hey, that's just me. What exactly is so embarrassing about walking up to an ATM machine and swiping a SNAP debit card in total anonymity and walking away with taxpayer funded money?

Claudette Therriault's picture


When you buy food with a SNAP card, you use it at the cash and it's embarassing... But not as bad as years ago when my husband was out of work and we had the actual food stamps. The store clerks would proclaim loudly, "Oh you have Food Stamps."

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

I remember that. The glares

I remember that. The glares from the other people in line were laser like. One thing, though, the guy buying lobster with food stamps was not leaving unscathed by the hamburger buyers who were paying out of pocket. Now, it's become a 'civilized' process. After all we don't want to damage anyone's self esteem, do we?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Maine and the Country simply

Maine and the Country simply cannot afford to provide healthcare for all. Obamacare has caused my healthcare cost to clime 60%. Perhaps the President did not know what he was talking about when he said premiums will decrease $2500 per year for the average family - Bull Shit.


more than an embarrassment

LePage and the sycophants around him are an abomination, caring only for their financial patrons - those who donate to Republican campaigns and demand fewer services for "the little people." They are not worthy.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Perhaps it is "the little

Perhaps it is "the little people" who demand too much from government.

 's picture

First of all, the federal

First of all, the federal govenment is essentially broke, so if their offer to pay means little, but what part of cost shifting to the state in 2016 did you not get? The state is broke also. You leftist moonbats have to realize the money will run out very soon. The government is not your daddy so take care of yourself and your family, why are you my responsiblilty?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Many democrats talk about

Many democrats talk about greed, but they fail to realize demanding service for which the country cannot afford, placing the burden on future generations, is a form of greed unto itself.

Expanding Medicare is like a drug dealer giving out samples of crack cocaine. The freebees will stop once you are hooked. That is the whole strategy behind Obamacare.


Hey, as long as you're all

Hey, as long as you're all set. Screw everybody else, right?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

At some point that is what we

At some point that is what we taxpayer's may have to do to keep our own families afloat. My first responsibility is to my family. If taking care of you drowns my family, guess what - you are correct, screw you.


First of all, you don't have

First of all, you don't have to take care of me - I'm all set. Secondly, If you just spruce up your last sentence a bit, it would make for a perfect conservative creed. That's the principal that this country was founded on, every man for himself!

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"The best way to lift a man

"The best way to lift a man out of poverty is to make him uncomfortable in that poverty."...Benjamin Franklin.
We all know that is not happening.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Before big government, the

Before big government, the country relied on local charity. We know the individuals that we are helping. We cut off aid if they are slugs.

Today, our money goes into the blackhole call government, it keeps wanting to suck more.

Moreover, we expect society to pay for too much, food, shelter, heating oil, transportation, utilities.

It is time to find a roommate if it is that hard to make ends meet alone. The time to act is now because budgets are going to get
event tighter once the federal government is forced to bring spending to realistic levels.

Lastly, you set the stage for that last sentence in your last comment; I just followed through. Now get off your duff, find a roommate to share expenses; at least do that for yourself.


Your last couple of sentences

Your last couple of sentences were about me personally. Mark, you should never assume, and you know why. I've worked for the same company for 38 years - starting off at $2.71 an hour. I am now the plant manager. I've been married to the same woman for 36 years. I have a daughter in the Air Force, a son who is a golf pro in Florida and a set of twins who are both attending RPI. I'm pretty sure that I make more money than you.
So I've never been on my duff. I don't need anyone to share expenses with. I've never been on the government dole. Increased taxes hit my wallet just as hard as they hit yours, if not more, but we're a society. A society is not every man for himself. I grew up on Knox St. in Lewiston, so I know poverty well. Many people do not have the mental capacity to ever earn more than minimum wage. These people need help, and I'm more than happy to share a little bit of my prosperity with them. So all of your conservative arguments don't mean crap to me. You conservatives are just a selfish bunch - it's all about me and screw everyone else. You bitch about Obama and the Democrats, but I bet you didn't have one word to say when Bush turned a surplus into a 10 trillion dollar hole. You and your ilk are nothing but a joke. A bad joke, but a joke none the less. You should all get together and buy an island, then move there. We won't bother you.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

“These people need help, and

“These people need help, and I'm more than happy to share a little bit of my prosperity with them.”

I really love how people carp about helping others, but never have the guts to quantify their charitableness. Let’s see if you have the guts.

Define a little – how many pennies out of a dollar is a little?

Define a lot – Ostensibly, you will not be happy turning over 100% of your paycheck in taxes. That said, what is your limit?

It is time to standup for what you believe in and put numbers to your words.

 's picture

Are you the self-appointed

Are you the self-appointed arbiter of what is the "correct" amount someone has to give in order to not be called greedy. We are not supposed to give alms and then sound trumpets in order to bring attention to ourselves. What people give to charities is to be done for the glory of God not the glory of man. For you to demand that of someone tells me all I need to know, that there is a good chance you don't give of your time, treasure or talent and can't believe anyone else would. God knows what we do and we will all stand before the awesome jusdgement seat of Christ one day soon expecting to give a good accounting of our lives. What will you say?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

One last word. Doesn't God

One last word. Doesn't God already know what I do or don't do? Why should God have to ask?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

This is a fair question to

This is a fair question to measure one's hypocrisy index. Nine times out of ten, people who bloviate about charitableness are trying to bolster their image to others. Since I don't really recall if you champion higher taxes for more services, not sure why this question bends you backwards. I guess that is between you and God.


What will I say? Read my

What will I say? Read my first letter again. How the hell did charities creep into this conversation? I'm talking about using my tax dollars to help people less fortunate than myself. I guess you only read postings of the "Great Gravel", then take it from there.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I said: "Define a lot –

I said:
"Define a lot – Ostensibly, you will not be happy turning over 100% of your paycheck in taxes. That said, what is your limit?"

Charitableness - Generous in giving money or other help to the needy

Where in the definition of charitableness does it state money is transferred to the needy through the church rather than transferred through tax redistribution????

Your statement implies that you are charitable with other people's money (i.e. transfer other people's money through taxation).

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I said: "Define a lot –

I said:
"Define a lot – Ostensibly, you will not be happy turning over 100% of your paycheck in taxes. That said, what is your limit?"

Charitableness - Generous in giving money or other help to the needy

Where in the definition of charitableness does it state money is transferred to the needy through the church rather than transferred through tax redistribution????

Your statements implies that you are charitable with other people's money (i.e. transfer other people's money through taxation).


I don't have to quantify

I don't have to quantify anything to you. You are nothing to me. Go count your pennies you tightass.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Let's try this again: Define

Let's try this again:

Define a little TAX – ?

Define a lot of TAX – ?

My expectation is that you can't answer, but give it a try.


Once again, I don't have to

Once again, I don't have to answer to you. Just admit it, you're a tightwad that really doesn't care about anyone else. As one of your groupies said in an earlier post You will be judged by God when you're time comes. Keep all the money you can, just remember you can't take it with you, and even if you could, it won't be any help. As I mentioned earlier, I spent the first 20 years of my life on Knox St, so I know poverty first hand. Where did you gain your experience, Fox News or Rush?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

You seem to have lots of

You seem to have lots of opinions, which is good, but you still cannot define what you consider is a "little" tax or "too much" tax. Hmm, why is that?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I just wanted to give you one

I just wanted to give you one more opportunity to provide your input, for which you clearly have none.

Your response is typical. That is, talk in general term; we need to help the poor, provide zero quantifiable information. Like, how much should we take from others to help the poor? What do you think is too much taxes?

There are two reasons people fail to respond:
1. They don't have an F'n clue. They are primarily a taker, not a giver to the tax system.
2. They do have a clue, but responding would reveal their hypocrisy in the matter of taxation.

Other red flags that indicate you are cornered:
1. tightwad
2. judged by God
3. Keep all the money you can

Well, I should just cut-n-paste your entire comment since it is mostly personal attacks.

I'm familiar with Knox St. in the 1970s. It was customary to throw our garbage in between buildings. Anyhow, the poor in this country are rich compared to world standards. I've seen what I would call the "true" poor of this planet in India, China, Thailand. You got nothing on these people, so take your "I lived on Knox" street and stick it.....

In summary, you got nothing but a case of whine.


Wow, for a guy who prides

Wow, for a guy who prides himself on being emotionless, dropping an f-bomb is out of character, isn't it? Am I starting to get to you? I love how you've figured out that there are only two reasons why I don't get into a numbers game with you. The truth is, once you back away from the numbers, your true character stands out. The reason I used those terms to describe you has nothing to do with be cornered, but everything to do with the truth. You are as I described you. It's not my job to decide how much or how little taxes is the right number. I helped to elect people that determine that. Sorry Mark, you try to paint this conversation as black and white, but that's not the way life is. Every situation is different, and each one has to stand on its own merits. 15,000 people losing benefits is not a good thing (well except to you) no matter how you look at it.
Here I am making six figures and I'm a taker not a giver? You're funny. Have a nice life with your money, Mark. Maybe we'll talk again some day.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

One last comment. You can

One last comment. You can sponsor lost benefits for one or two of those 15,000 people on a six-figure income. Yet, I bet you will not - go ponder the hypocrisy.


I have a wife and four kids -

I have a wife and four kids - including two in college, and a granddaughter. When you consider these facts, my disposable income isn't what you make it out to be. If the state government decides to enroll these 15K without benefits, then my contribution will be through my payroll taxes and I don't bitch and complain like some people I know (looking at you, Mark). You call me a whiner, yet you seem to be the one whining - there's your hypocrisy.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Look at it this way. After

Look at it this way. After the State sum tax contribution s from all the Timothy’s of Maine, there is still not enough to pay for all the services; hence, 15K people are drop to cut costs.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

so, would you happily pay 50%

so, would you happily pay 50% of your gross income in taxes?


Mark, as is typically the

Mark, as is typically the case on these blogs, I think it's time to agree to disagree. We're just starting to go around in circles. It takes all kinds of people to make a world, and this world would be incredibly boring if we all thought alike. We've probably had much different life experiences growing up, thus our differences of opinion. I apologize for the personal attacks, and I really do respect your perspective on how government should operate, I just happen to disagree. But how bout them Sox, eh?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Not sure I can even pinpoint

Not sure I can even pinpoint what I agree or disagree with since you have provided no quantitative information. To measure something, it must be measurable. Superlatives, such as too little, more, too much are subjective and cannot be measured. Terms like, 10 cents on the dollar are quantitative and measureable. Perhaps that is why superlatives are often used in these discussions – to avoid being measured; what a shame.


My arguments are based on

My arguments are based on principal - how a person views the world around him - and not only from a monetary standpoint. If you get your kicks by manipulating numbers, more power to you. Life isn't just numbers or money, Mark, and that is your fatal shortcoming. It seems that your world is missing something. You have all the makings of a psychopath. You always use emotion against the people you converse with. You have no emotion. Keep in mind that not all psychopaths are murderers - How else do you think a CEO can live with himself after firing 10,000 people. You say you can't pinpoint what you agree or disagree with. That's not true. I feel that 15,000 people should not be dropped, you feel they should. Is that too hard for you to figure out? I've tried to bury the hachet to a degree, but you can't seem to bring yourself to do it. I'm sorry your life is so miserable. I'm done talking to a wall.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Let’s hope you have a license

Let’s hope you have a license to practice psychiatry; If not, I may have to report you to the AMA.

Given that you may be skilled in the arts of psychiatric evaluation, you should equally be skilled in the art of Aristotelian logic. Moreover, you should be aware that if we are to be skeptical, fair manner, then we must be willing to set aside our emotions and evaluate the logic and reasoning on their own terms.

Many adults are able to set aside emotion to evaluate the logic and reasoning behind a premise. This does not mean they lack emotion or as you so claim – psychopathic, which has more to do with lacking empathy.

We all have areas for self-improvement; perhaps setting your emotions aside to logically examine something will enlighten you.
One last lesson, the argumentation approach that you illustrate is called ad hominem attack – an argument made against the person instead of against the relevant topic, which is taxes.

I wish you the best and never stop learning.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Consider that word an

Consider that word an adjective describing the degree of clueless. Nothing emotional about it, just a yard stick of clueless.

The takeaway here is if you don't want to answer a simple question, which is you prerogative, I have to make assumptions. If I'm not correct in my assumption, you are welcome to answer the questions and provide clarity. Otherwise, I have to provide myself with the answer.

BTW, the truth is measurable. For example, no one should pay more that 30% if their income for federal, state, and local taxes combined. Or anyone who pays less than 10% of their earnings federal income tax pays too little.

Besides, the question is only asking your opinion, you do have one, right? You do seem to have an opinion that I'm hoarding wealth - God I wish that was true. I'm certainly not asking you to set spending policy for the Federal Government - heck no.

What is a good thing is not to think Maine can run on deficit spending - balancing the budget is a good thing. Driving the a city or state into bankruptcy is a bad thing. Resources are finite - that is a measurable fact as opposed to a feel good fact.

I'll leave you with one less fact. The poor in Thailand, China, or India would love to be the poor in America. Americans need to put things into perspective.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I'll leave you with one LAST

I'll leave you with one LAST fact.

 's picture

no compassion

It's only welfare when it goes to, you know, "those" people. No conservaclown has ever asked for welfare, they've earned it!

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Your envy is showing there,

Your envy is showing there, Lil.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Ug, Dems good, Reps bad - god

Ug, Dems good, Reps bad - god I'm tired of hearing the same old crap. The plain and simple fact is that this country is broke.

 's picture

The Federal Government isn't broke, not thanks to Republicans

The Republicans over thirty years have rung up $12 trillion in debt for new unpaid for programs. President Clinton almost eliminated the National debt, but then came George Bush with $6 trillion in new un-paid for programs. Republicans like to bankrupt the country because as this author suggests it leaves no money for Democrats to correct the abuses of the Republicans and to get the country back on its feet.
Then you have the factual errors - "what part of cost shifting to the state in 2016 did you not get". The Feds go from 100% funding to 90%. I'm shaking at this huge cost shifting. The state is not broke.
But the author is right to ask "why are you my responsibility?" For that sums up the misinformation very well. When you are this clueless about your rights and responsibilities in a Constitutional Republic it explains why veterans are on the streets.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

"President Clinton almost

"President Clinton almost eliminated the National debt,"

I think we need to raise the BS flag on this claim....

David  Cote's picture

Say what?

Clinton didn't almost eliminate the national debt. It went up well over a trillion dollars during his presidency. In fact, the U.S. economy fielded a $236,000,000,000, (that's billion with a "B"), yet the national debt still rose over one billion dollars in that calender year. How does the national debt escilate with a budget surplus at more than twice the amount as the debt itself? BTW, my info is sourced from Dave who has been featured in such publications as the NY Times, MSN,, Bloomberg and CNN Money to name several. And, the national debt has increased more under Obama's four and a half years than it did under Bush dubya during his eight. That info courtesy of journalist Mark Knoller of CBS News who further pointed out that Obama's "Win the Future" program in which Obama called for a reduction of the deficit by cutting wasyeful spending. Is that so? What a con. According to Knoller's article, the budget will rise north of $20 trillion by Obama's exit from office, double what the deficit was when Dubya exited.

 's picture

Wonderful selective information.

The last 4 years of Clinton budgets all had surpluses. They had surpluses because of the Bush tax increase in 1991 and the Clinton tax increase of 1993. They were projected to eliminate the federal debt in 2010's had no changes been made.
Sorry but sentence two makes no sense. Must be me.
I'm sure that the debt has increased more in Obama's 5 years than in Bush's eight. But that doesn't really mean anything. The question is why? Bush's last deficit was $1.3 trillion, 750,000 people were losing their jobs monthly (adding to the debt), the auto industry was about to go bankrupt (except for Ford which had borrowed $5 billion just before the crash), credit was frozen and the worst Depression in 70 years was at its peak when Obama came to office. The deficit for Obama's first budget was projected to be $1.6 trillion if he adopted no new programs. Obama has offerred no unpaid for programs that would increase the debt. Obamacare was paid for. The stimulus showed a huge profit. The auto bailout (which was a bush program that Obama continued) will end either with a small profit or a small lose. Its too early to tell. The deficit has fallen by 1/2 in those 5 years. You don't turn a $16 trillion economy around on a dime especially with Republicans sabotaging it at every turn.
Don't understand your last sentence either.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

“The last 4 years of Clinton

“The last 4 years of Clinton budgets all had surpluses. “
Outcomes matter, while Clinton’s budgets on paper indicated surpluses, actual expenditures exceeded the budget.

Year Percent increase in National debt
1996 3.0%
1997 1.7%
1998 1.0%
1999 0.8%

Source -CBO

Close, but no cigar. The national debt rose under the last four years of the Clinton administration no what is paper budget said.

Also, don't forget that the bubble had just begun to burst in 1999.

"Depression in 70 years"

What a drama queen. The recession was deep but did not meet the classical definition of a depression.

 's picture

The SSA is legally required

The SSA is legally required to use all yearly surpluses, that is, any amount collected that exceeds benefit payout from collected funds, otherwise known as the payroll tax, to purchase U.S. Government Securities. This transaction immediately becomes part of intra-governmental holdings and the money becomes available for and, in fact, is used by, the government to pay its bills. There is no Social Security Trust Fund, just government IOUs stuck in a file cabinet in West Virginia. This is what Clinton did so there was a surplus on paper but in reality, he did not. The best example of why that is wrong is if you use a credit card to pay off another credit card and yet kept purchasing stuff on credit. The IOU’s are coming due real soon and the problem is there is no money left. Clinton ran a budget deficit of $17.9 billion during Fiscal Year 2000, while claiming a surplus of $230.8 billion dollars, and so increased the National Debt by that amount ($17.9 billion dollars). Your shipment of fail has arrived.

 's picture

Has nothing to do with Clinton

The procedure you describe has been used in 1935. Secondly, I you or I do with a credit card has nothing to do with the Federal Government's procedures with debt. In fact if you remove SS completely from the discussion Clinton had an $86 billion surplus in fiscal2000.

 's picture

In fact, you can't remove it

In fact, you can't remove it because it is there, it is owed. I know maths are hard for you leftists but if you want to do it your way, how about removing all expenditures from the budget, that way we have trillions for surplus. The credit card thing? It was called an example.

 's picture

Excuse me and Factcheck!

SS has never run a deficit. It will never run a deficit unless we do nothing over the next 25 years. Removing it from the Federal Budget (actually its not part of the Federal Budget in the first place. Its a seperate account. ) can not therefore mask a Federal Budget surplus.
An misleading example that only exposed that the author doesn't understand economics or the Federal Budget. The Federal Government does not have a credit card. And this is a fundamental problem. Conservatives not understanding the real world make up these grossly oversimplified analogies like the Federal Budget is like your home budget or the US economy is like your family's economy that misleading people.
Another of these analogies is "small or limited government". Now what does that mean. Republicans won't tell you. Perry of Texas tried in 2012 but forgot his answer no one else tries. If they mean "like the government the founding fathers created in the Constitution. Well then they are just plain ignorant. The Constitution's primary function was to create a large, vibratant, agggressive National government by taking power away from the states. It was not limtied to and never was intended to limit the areas that the Federal government could legislation on as the decisions that George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and John Marshall made after the government began operating that contrasted the Constitutonal government with the truelly limited Articles of Confederation Government that preceded it.
Facts remain, Had Bush not changed policies the Federal Debt could have been eliminated. The current debt is almost entirely the responsibility of unpaid for programs initiated by Republican Presidents starting with Ronald Reagan and the result of economic failures caused by policies initiated and defended by Republican Presidents. The key here is "unpaid for". The deliberate failure of fiscal responsibility.

David  Cote's picture

Selective info and a lack of understanding...

Reminds me when I was raising my kids and I asked them to do something. Their response was either "I didn't hear that part of what you said" or "I didn't understand what you meant. Code for "I'm going to ignore the parts I don't have an answer for. Have a nice day, Mr. Albrecht.

Claudette Therriault's picture

I hope you have a great retirement plan, John.

Not everyone does. Seniors like myself have worked their entire lives and paid taxes and, yes, supported families and others on MaineCare. Now, it's my turn. I need MaineCare to pay for my meds. Right now, the state has dropped their Drugs for the Elderly Program. We don't know if we will have MaineCare come January. It's frightening.

And hey, guess what? It's not just seniors. Younger people need MaineCare as well. Not everyone makes a living wage. What about people with permanent disabilities?

Leftist moonbats? I'd rather be that than a heartless convervative...

MARK GRAVEL's picture

You know what I and others

You know what I and others did when we did not earn a living wage? We got roommates that were in the same boat, so we could share expenses.

Let's deal with realities and stop waiting facing the government on our knees arms stretched with palms up.

You do have alternatives.

 's picture

I know leftist moonbats, but

I know leftist moonbats, but you don't know me. I refer you to Matthew 6:1-4. I am forbidden to tell people what I do with my time, talent, and treasure but it is not in a place where moths can destroy it .Luke 12:33-34

Claudette Therriault's picture

If we are going to quote scripture...

Proverbs 14:31
Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Resisting excessive taxation

Resisting excessive taxation is not oppressing the poor.

Resiting excessive taxation is not being unkind to the needy.

The government spends 25% of the GDP. Why are you begging to the taxpayer's? Perhaps your fight is with how the government spends the money it does have. Why don't you tell your President to cut foreign aid, stop GSA and IRS parties on the taxpayer, and stop vacationing on the taxpayer.

In my opinion, you are begging at the wrong door. Your beef is with your governments spending habits.

 's picture

that is the nicest thing

that is the nicest thing anyone has said all day about me. thank you for the kind words, Claudette.

 's picture

I hope you have a great retirement, John

I agree with you 100%. I am disabled and cant work so I too am worried what is to become of us who are elderly. We did our share as workers of the State of Maine and we did support others on welfare and mainecare etc. Now that we need it , it is all going to be gone. It is true Maine wages are the lowest in the USA. I don't know how today's people make a living on this wage , when prices are going up and keep going up, but our pay does not go higher. Thanks for listening but I am upset with Gov, Lapage and he wont get my vote ever again.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Is owing hospitals

Is owing hospitals $400million for services the answer to your healthcare needs?


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