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Friday, May 06, 2016

Governor Paul LePage wrongly prevents Medicaid expansion - again

Luke 12:15
Then He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions."

Sometimes, I wonder if Governor Paul LePage thinks he'll be able to take the tax money he waves around like a green badge of courage to his eternal reward with him.

Does he really think that saving tax payers money is going to buy him friends and influence?
Maine's rejection of Medicaid expansion has helped drive up charity care costs for hospitals in the state and put them at a disadvantage under federal law.
Obviously, the Governor's selfish intentions to prevent people from having access to Medicaid covered health  care gives him great pleasure.  "Beware....Luke 12-14"

One of the most ironic problems with Governor Paul LePage and his regressive public policies is how the people who are hurt are largely the same ones who voted for him. Take the Medicaid expansion, for example. Maine is the only state in New England to not expand Medicaid with the help of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but yet Governor LePage will not support this initiative in spite of several worthy efforts supported by the state's legislature to accept the expansion.  Who is hurt? It's the people who voted for Governor LePage, the working class, who need the coverage. They are hurt. In fact, one of the most vulnerable populations who rely on Medicaid in Maine are the seasonal workers, like people in the fishing industries and the fishermen. Unfortunately, 70,000 people who should have Medicaid health care coverage will tragically remain uninsured, as a result of the Governor's selfish motivation to prevent the state from accepting the expansion.

Maine Medicaid expansion negatively impacts patients and hospital employees- Portland Press Herald

Maine’s rejection of Medicaid expansion has high costs for hospitals

The layoffs of 22 people in Farmington show the fiscal pressures facing health care facilities. 

Maine’s continued rejection of Medicaid expansion is hurting not only thousands of uninsured Mainers, but also health care workers themselves – like the 22 people recently laid off from the Farmington-based Franklin Community Health Network – to help make up for revenue that the health system is losing because of the state’s failure to expand Medicaid.

Governor LePage and his allies in the Legislature have repeatedly opposed expansion as a handout to “able-bodied” people who’d rather get government assistance than get a job. Now that they have evidence that their intransigence is affecting some of the state’s
biggest employers, they should re-think their position and support expansion as a way to keep Maine’s health systems healthy.
The layoffs at the Franklin health system – which runs Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington – are part of a cost-reduction plan that includes the elimination of 40 full-time positions.

Chief Financial Officer Wayne Bennett explained in the Morning Sentinel this week how the failure to expand Medicaid has cost the system money.

For one thing, it’s caused a slight rise in the number of uninsured patients who need free care. For another, it’s driving up the number of people who don’t seek care at all, reducing the number of patients the system would see.

At Franklin and other Maine hospitals, Maine’s failure to broaden Medicaid is seen as
a primary driver in soaring charity care costs, from over $100 million in 2000 to over $570 million in 2014.

Health care facilities are also losing out on Medicare revenue. That’s
because the Affordable Care Act assumes that states will approve expansion, providing hospitals with more paying patients and reducing charity care expenses. This is supposed to protect the facilities from the costs of Medicare reimbursement cuts, which are also part of the law.

Operating under the ACA without Medicaid expansion is “clearly a factor (in) the financial hardships of hospitals,” Maine Hospital Association lobbyist Jeff Austin told the Sentinel, noting that about 40 percent of hospitals in Maine are currently operating at a deficit.

Health care facilities in other states that didn’t expand Medicaid – such as
Georgia, Oklahoma and Tennessee – have also had to lay off staff or even close their doors. This is what happens when lawmakers decide health-related issues purely on their political merits.

Maine state Sen. Tom Saviello, a Republican whose district includes the Farmington area, sponsored
expansion legislation this session, but it never made it to a vote. He plans to reintroduce the bill next session – which should give expansion’s critics in Augusta time to study the mounting evidence against their stance and come down on the side of what’s best for their constituents and those who care for them.

Senator Tom Saviello was right to support the Medicaid expansion. Thank you Senator Saviello.

Maine's Governor LePage is horribly wrong to prevent 70,000 people from having access to healthcare coverage.

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