In his recent guest column (Sept. 29), Rich Livingston, president of the AARP of Maine, was sadly mistaken about medical welfare expansion and Maine's decision not to do it. He said that if Maine doesn't spend the money to expand its Medicaid program, the funds will just go to other states instead, and that Mainers won't get their "money back" from the federal government that they pay in the form of federal income taxes.
That is not true.
First, money not spent by the federal government to expand Medicaid will not be redistributed to other states. It will go directly back into the U.S. Treasury, thus reducing (or not expanding) the federal deficit.
I would have thought that Livingston, as the president of AARP of Maine, would support such an action, as out-of-control federal spending and borrowing have brought on inflationary rises in food and fuel costs resulting in crushing fiscal pressures on the at-risk elderly population.
That same government spending has also depressed the rate of return on savings and has many middle class seniors worried that their life savings will expire before they do.
Also, Maine is a net "taker" of federal funds — Maine citizens send much less money in taxes to Washington each year than the state gets back in benefits and funding.
Finally, what does this debate really say about us as a state and a nation? Livingston evidently believes that Maine shouldn't fall behind in the mad scramble to plunge our children and grandchildren into insurmountable indebtedness.
The hot pursuit of federal dollars is not a race I want to win.
Rep. Richard S. Malaby, Hancock