For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA - House Republican leaders Tuesday called on Democratic leadership to bring forward the bipartisan measure to pay off Maine's hospital bills without delay. It has been 12 days since Democrats announced that even though the merged hospital debt and Medicaid expansion mega-bill did not survive a veto, they would still not move on the popular hospital debt bill until they get their way on their controversial welfare expansion proposal.
As of early Tuesday afternoon, there were over 80 items on the day's House calendar and accompanying supplements to be addressed. Multiple bills had been passed "under the hammer"that is, with such unanimity of agreement that no roll call was necessary.
"The hospital bill could be one of them," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. "Every day that passes is a day that Maine hospitals are being used as an interest-free bank by politicians in Augusta. In the past few weeks, we have seen a hospital announce layoffs and a bond rating agency place our unpaid hospital bills at the top of their list of Maine's credit challenges. Democrats are stalling and our economy is suffering as a result."
Assistant House Republican Leader Alexander Willette of Mapleton agreed.
"Democrats are breaking the trust placed in them by the people of Maine," he said. "We all came here with the understanding that we would reach consensus on the big issues and not succumb to the partisan games being played in Washington, and what do the Democrats do? They hold this year's biggest job-creating bill hostage to their demand for more welfare spending. It's a slap in the face to the people of Maine and a crushing burden on our economy. It makes one wonder whether the Democrats are really concerned about getting Mainers to work or whether they only want more welfare dependency."
"Democrats have a choice," added Fredette. "They can stubbornly stomp their feet in a demand for more welfare spending, or they can join with us and do something truly great for Maine's economy. We've wanted to make it happen for months; they've claimed they want the same. Therefore, we demand a good, clean, up or down vote on the hospital bill without delay."
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 205-7793