Michaud continues to mull health care bill vote

LEWISTON — U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, a Maine Democrat, has yet to reveal how he will vote on the pending health care reform legislation, despite requests for support coming from the White House, leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives and Michaud's constituents.

Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Several dozen people gathered in front of U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud's office on Lisbon Street in Lewiston on Friday for a candlelight vigil to encourage the Maine Democrat to support health care reform.

Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Several dozen people gathered in front of U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud's office on Lisbon Street in Lewiston on Friday for a candlelight vigil to encourage the Maine Democrat to support health care reform.

A House vote could take place this weekend on the nearly 2,000-page bill, which is expected to cost about $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years and insure about 36 million more Americans, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. It also is estimated to cut the deficit by more than $30 billion over the next decade.

According to a spokesman, Michaud is concerned about how one of the mechanisms being used to fund the legislation, cuts to the Medicare reimbursement rates to rural providers, will affect health care delivery in Maine.

"At this point, he's continuing to work with leaders and has had discussions with the White House and even with Sen. (Olympia) Snowe today about the concerns that he has with the cuts to Medicare that are contained in the House bill, how the House bill deals with the expansion under Medicaid and how it treats Maine," said Ed Gilman, Michaud's spokesman.

Michaud is not concerned about the bill's inclusion of a "public option," which would allow a government-run insurance plan to compete with private plans. For months, Michaud has consistently expressed his support for such a system, which he sees as an important way to hold down costs.

"There's a lot in this bill that he does support, all of the reforms to the insurance industry practices that have just plagued too many people, whether that's dropping people when they become sick or denying people because they have a pre-existing conditions," Gilman said.

Several dozen supporters of the bill gathered in front of the Michaud's Lewiston office Friday afternoon, encouraging him to support the legislation.

Greg Howard of the Change That Works campaign in Maine said Michaud should vote to support the bill because the people of Maine need it.

"(Michaud) has been a steadfast, strong supporter of many of the issues we hold dear," said Howard, whose group is backed by the Service Employees International Union. "We've got to keep the momentum going on reform."

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, also a Maine Democrat, has already expressed her support for the bill.

Asked whether Michaud would vote against the health care reform bill if his concerns were not addressed, Gilman said he didn't know.

"His decision will be based on his own judgment and analysis from experts, whether it's the Congressional Budget Office or folks in Maine, on how this bill treats people he represents," Gilman said.

rmetzler@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

Black liquor is a big

Black liquor is a big problem for Mike.

All the best,

Bob

 's picture

Question, should not caring

Question, should not caring health care insurance be punishable by a fine or prison time?

 's picture

Why the AARP would endorse a

Why the AARP would endorse a bill that will hurt seniors tells us that we will cancel our membership and no longer support an organization that is supposed to be for seniors but is now showing it's true colors. Hopefully Mike Michaud will NOT support this travesty.

RAYMOND FRECHETTE's picture

Thank you Representative

Thank you Representative Michaud for showing concern for the people of Maine. There are many potential problems with the bill as cuts in Medicare and shifting of expenses to the States via Medicaid costs. Ms. Pelosi and cohorts appear to be more interested in getting any bill through than thinking the problem through and getting the proper solution out. We should be happy that Representative Michaud is thinking of the problems this bill can create. Our Northern neighbors in Quebec have already experienced the problems of a public insurance and sued their government (successfully) for the right to have private insurance as we enjoy. Rather than trying to fix all problems Congress should look at the health care needs of the countrry and fix them in steps. Too many fixes at once will upset the system and the unexpected consequences will be worst than the original problems we now face. Realize we have the best health care system in the world, no one is denied care when they go to hospital, regardless of ability to pay, and as much as we are given vague promises on this new plan, no one gives us specifics yet.

 's picture

Well said. The congress is

Well said. The congress is trying to force solutions to a problem without disecting it first to learn the causes of the problems.

 's picture

Michaud can't make up his

Michaud can't make up his mind? This is news how? He is a Blue Dog Democrat which indicates an inability to make a firm decision. It's no wonder he is talking to Olympia Snowe.
The current bill is endorsed by the AARP and the AMA - what does Michaud need - Jesus to come to his office and express his support?

Any problem that can't be solved with taxcuts, republicans pretend doesn't exist.

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