Two top Maine conservatives say Obamacare is working. Have you signed up yet?

In the last week, the more conservative of the two Republicans in the 2014 primary for Maine’s second congressional district and the head of Maine’s conservative Maine Heritage Policy Center acknowledged that Obamacare is doing good for people.

While both prefer other options and are quite critical of Obamacare, this is what they said about the Affordable Care Act.

Rep. Bruce Poliquin

Rep. Bruce Poliquin

Congressman Bruce Poliquin:

Had Congress voted for the full repeal of ObamaCare two years ago, families and small businesses would have been able to adjust to the change. Now, however, more than 60,000 Mainers have invested their time and energy in choosing health care plans that work for their families. [source]

Matthew Gagnon, Maine Heritage Policy Center

Matthew Gagnon, Maine Heritage Policy Center

Matt Gagnon, Maine Heritage Policy Center:

[R]oughly 63,000 Mainers have signed up for the Obamacare exchange plans. People are getting subsidies. People have chosen plans, spent money, and gotten themselves and their families coverage.

Reverting the law to its previous, non-Obamacare state would . . . negatively impact tens of thousands of Mainers — and millions of Americans — who have been purchasing plans on the exchange. [source]

As I noted last week regarding Poliquin’s vote against repealing the ACA, the congressman’s decision showed that the politics of Obamacare are shifting.

During his primary campaign, Poliquin said he was the “true conservative” and he criticized his opponent, Kevin Raye, for supporting a state health insurance exchange.

Now Poliquin is grappling with the reality that a repeal means taking something away from people.

In some ways, this is quite predictable. Back in July 2013, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), a strong critic of the ACA, predicted it would be hard to get rid of subsidies for insurance purchased on the exchanges:

On January 1 [2014], the exchanges kick in and the subsidies kick in. Once those kick in, it’s going to prove almost impossible to undo Obamacare. The administration’s plan is very simple: Get everyone addicted to the sugar so that Obamacare remains a permanent feature of our society. [source]

This is not to say that Poliquin hasn’t faced blowback. He has, from important elements of his electoral base. However, social media also includes comments from some touting his vote as a positive sign of pragmatism.

If you don’t have insurance, have you signed up yet?

Open enrollment for 2015 is due to end soon — on February 15 — and the website is performing very well.

More than 50% of Mainers had signed up by mid-January 2015 than all of last year.

If you or someone who know needs a policy, make sure you check out your options with a navigator or go to healthcare.gov.

The only people who can sign up later for 2015 are people whose circumstances change, such as turning 26 or losing a job with health coverage.

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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 and the faculty advisor to the UMaine College Republicans. Fried's views are her own and do not represent those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.