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Maine Gov. Paul LePage Tells Maine Voters To Suck His Dick, Pretty Much (This Is A Post About Medicaid)

Guess what body part I'm being? Oh, you guessed!
Guess what body part I’m being? Oh, you guessed!

Even as he’s in his final year as governor of Maine, Paul LePage has been remarkably consistent in keeping his pledge to be the biggest asshole he can possibly be. Last November, Maine voters passed an initiative requiring the state to join the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid, a measure that will bring health coverage to between 70,000 and 80,000 lower-income residents of the state. That’s after LePage had vetoed the Legislature-passed Medicaid expansion five times. The ballot measure passed with 59 percent of the vote, but LePage has refused to actually follow the law and expand Medicaid, so now he’s being sued by some of the groups that pushed for the passage of the initiative.

“With the goal of getting health care to people as soon as possible, we decided we couldn’t wait any longer,” said Robyn Merrill of Maine Equal Justice Partners, one of the advocacy groups behind the lawsuit.

You might think LePage would have understood somewhere in there that Mainers really want Medicaid expansion, but he happens to know that expanding Medicaid would be terrible, because the state would go bankrupt (although states only pay a small portion of the costs of expansion) and that very bad people who don’t deserve healthcare would be covered. So he’s followed through on the threat he made when the ballot measure passed: He’s not expanding Medicaid unless the state lege fully funds it, without tax increases, and without touching the state’s rainy day fund, and for all we know, he’ll oppose any Medicaid expansion that allows people to see a doctor during daylight hours, because healthcare should be shameful.

The legislature’s session ended without a deal to fund expansion, and LePage’s administration didn’t bother meeting an April deadline to notify the federal government that it would join the Medicaid expansion, so now it’s time to sue the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to stop dragging its feet and obey the damned law. Funny thing about your law-and-order Republicans; they demand strict adherence to the law, unless of course it’s a law they don’t like.

As it happens, state Attorney General Janet Mills, a Democrat, is running for governor; she hasn’t yet said whether she’d defend the state in the lawsuit. Seems like she might have a pretty good reason to recuse herself from the case, since earlier this year Mills had her own suggestion for funding Maine’s portion of Medicaid expansion: Use $ 35 million from the big 1998 tobacco settlement to cover expansion through 2019. Big Tobacco paying for covering healthcare? It’s a crazy idea, but it just might work.

And in a fine bit of coincidental timing, the same day backers of Maine’s first-in-the-nation Medicaid expansion initiative went to court to make their idiot governor actually do his job (yesterday), backers of a similar initiative in Idaho turned in their petitions to put their measure on the fall ballot. Reclaim Idaho, the group pushing the initiative, submitted more than 60,000 signatures gathered across the state to county clerks, who will first certify the signatures and then submit them to the secretary of state’s office.

In a nice bit of symmetry, the number of Idahoans currently in the coverage gap between current Medicaid eligibility and qualifying for Obamacare subsidies is about 62,000, a bit more than the number of signatures collected. No, we don’t think that portends anything; it’s just tidy.

At least one of the Republicans running for governor, US Rep. and Certified Asshole Raul “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care” Labrador, has already pledged that if the fall elections result in the initiative passing and his election as successor to Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, he’ll “consider” overturning the initiative, because elections have consequences, unless they’re consequences Republicans don’t like.

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[Politico / Idaho Statesman / Idaho Statesman]

Source: Politics – Wonkette

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