In debate, LePage misses reality of his MaineCare vetoes


Gov. LePage and Rep. Michaud at October 15, 2014 debate. Photo credit: Troy R. Bennett l BDN

Gov. LePage and Rep. Michaud at October 15, 2014 debate. Photo credit: Troy R. Bennett l BDN

In last night’s governor’s debate, Rep. Mike Michaud used his one chance to ask another candidate a question to say to Gov. Paul LePage, “Governor, someone is watching us right now, is going without life-changing medication because of your five vetoes. Would you be able to look into the camera and tell those people why they were too costly to care [for]?”

In responding, LePage incorrectly claimed that his vetoes didn’t stop anyone from getting health coverage.

LePage said that people who wouldn’t be getting MaineCare because of his vetoes could all get subsidized private insurance through the exchange.

That’s not true.

LePage’s five vetoes not only meant that some can’t gain coverage, but his choices also led to some losing health insurance.

As Kaiser Health News reported about a Northport woman:

By the time Laura Tasheiko discovered the lump in her left breast, it was larger than a grape. Tasheiko, 61, an artist who makes a living selling oil paintings of Maine’s snowy woods, lighthouses and rocky coastline, was terrified: She had no health insurance and little cash to spare. . .

[W]hile much of America saw an expansion of coverage this year, low-income Maine residents like Tasheiko lost benefits. On Jan. 1, just as the Affordable Care Act was being rolled out nationwide, MaineCare terminated her coverage, leaving her and thousands of others without insurance. . .

“It’s nerve-wracking,” said Tasheiko, who like many working poor in this rugged state makes ends meet by raising laying hens, heating her home with a woodstove and eating and canning vegetables she raises in her garden. “Cancer doesn’t just stop — it’s not over. But my health coverage is over.” [source]

There are real human consequences to LePage’s actions that he either doesn’t know about or isn’t acknowledging.


Follow this link for an explainer on the coverage gap that, due to the MaineCare vetoes, leaves thousands of low-income working people without health insurance.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.