For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA - House Republican leaders today warned Mainers against the fiscal dangers of expanding medical welfare to thousands of able-bodied adults when alternative options exist and while Americans are already suffering as a result of the federal government's broken promises.
Throughout the process of passing the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama stated no less than 36 times that if Americans like their health insurance plans, they can keep them. Yet in the face of an estimated 3.5 million Americans receiving health insurance plan cancellation notices and intense media scrutiny, President Obama last week made a rare apology to the American people.
Numbers reported by The Maine Wire and confirmed by Maine Bureau of Insurance personnel reveal that here in Maine, Anthem has sent plan cancellation notices to 8,500 individual plan holders and MegaLife has sent plan modification letters to 3,800 of its 11,000 individual plan holders.
President Obama and Congressional Democrats are also promising that if states expand medical welfare coverage under Medicaid, the federal government will reimburse them for no less than 90 percent of the cost, forever.
Setting aside the fact, repeated by Maine Republican leaders, that the ObamaCare welfare expansion deal is a bad one for Maine even if the federal government keeps its promise, it is incumbent upon state level policymakers to consider expansion within the context of a largely failing government health care takeover that has already resulting in at least one public apology from the plan's chief architect.
"Infinite federal funding for welfare expansion is a big promise, just like the President's promise to Americans that if they like their plans, they can keep them," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. "We all know how that turned out. The federal government is facing a debt of $17 trillion and growing, and has repeatedly shown its inability to work together, get things done, and keep its promises. The feds' welfare expansion promise is already unaffordable for Maine taxpayers as it stands, and one can only imagine how costly it would be if that promise is also broken."
"Maine expanded medical welfare years ago and since then, the feds have reduced their share of the cost while denying us the flexibility to control costs to Maine taxpayers," added Assistant House Republican Leader Alex Willette of Mapleton. "I'm not ready to place a bet on Congress to keep its promises and successfully manage ObamaCare."
- DHHS estimates that welfare expansion under ObamaCare will cost Maine taxpayers $150 million per budget at the promised long-term reimbursement rate of 90 percent beginning in FY 20-21.
- It would cost the state $70 million in FY 16-17 and $102 million in FY 18-19.
- At 27 percent of the population, Maine's Medicaid enrollment already ranks third in the nation. The New England average is 18 percent.
- Maine's Medicaid spending as a share of the overall state budget has nearly doubled since 1997, increasing from 13 to 25 percent.
- When expanding Medicaid in 2001, we expected 11,000 to enroll. After 14 months, however, 17,000 had enrolled and after two years, we had to cap enrollment at 25,000.
- Despite its promises, past Medicaid expansions in Maine have not reduced ER usage, uncompensated care, or the uninsured population.
- At least half of the 70,000 to be covered are eligible for federally-subsidized, private health insurance plans on the Exchange for roughly $5-10 per week and at no cost to state taxpayers.
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 205-7793