AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Gov. Paul LePage and DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew are traveling to Washington to talk with top Republicans about the new GOP health care plan.
The governor told WGAN-AM radio Thursday morning that the new plan from House Republicans would be bad for Maine. His opinion is the same as many health care activists with whom the governor usually does not agree.
Those health care activist groups have liked many aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and want to save it. The governor has made it clear he does not like the plan, also known as Obamacare, and wants to replace it. However, they all apparently agree that the current House GOP proposal is not the answer.
“There’s a whole lot of talk about repeal and replace,” said Gov. LePage. “We've got to reform.”
The governor said his major complaint is that the new American Health Care Act (AHCA), rolled out by House Republicans earlier this week, doesn’t change the current system enough.
He said it would still allow states like Maine to expand Medicaid for three more years, but would then have states become responsible for paying for the plans, without the needed resources to do it.
The governor also commented on a part of the plan that would “cap” how much can be spent on patients, and he said that would be “a disaster” for Maine, which has the largest portion of seniors in the country.
On the other side of the aisle, Emily Brostek of Consumers for Affordable Health Care is also highly critical of the GOP plan, but for different reasons. Brostek said the AHCA plan would eliminate many of the things people have liked about Obamacare.
“It's [going to] make people lose coverage, leave fewer people being covered,” she said. “It”s everything people said they don’t want.”
Those sentiments were shared by Gordon Smith of the Maine Medical Association, which is also opposing the House GOP plan.
“I think the big losers in the American Health Care Act are, first of all, the patients, but second, Maine hospitals, already half of which lose money,” Smith said.
LePage said he and Commissioner Mayhew would be meeting with congressional Republicans and administration officials to make their case, and to urge them to slow down the process.
“Mary Mayhew and I are going down to speak to people and say, 'look, every time you rush into stuff you miss something,'” the governor told WGAN. He added, “let’s do it right.”
Here are three links, provided by Rep. Poliquin's office, related to the GOP's proposed health care plan, the American Health Care Act: