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This week’s edition!

Enough is Enough: If you are over 65, get the facts about Medicaid expansion

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

Before we start this week’s column, let’s take a short walk down memory lane.  The lane is in Lewiston, and it’s appropriately called “Welfare Lane.”

Back in 1964 our greatest benevolent President “Passed a law in 64 to give those who ain’t got a little more.”  President Lyndon Johnson launched the “Great Society” program.  It became a blessing to those who benefited from it.

It became a recurring nightmare of those taxpayers who have been forced to fiscally maintain its stability.

Sometime during the late 1960s/early 1970s, the federal government approached the head of Lewiston city government (we’ll call him Santa Claus) with a proposition. For every nickel the city put aside for the poor, they would match it with 95 cents. As the years passed, the reimbursement got less and less, creating not only a fiscal problem, but a hard-to-shake image problem.

For years, we have struggled to meet and solve our welfare problem. Now we have been kicked in the head with another major problem, whether to add an additional 70,000 able-bodied adults to the Medicaid rolls. This has the potential of creating large holes in Maine’s budget every year—as happened the last time Maine expanded Medicaid in 2002 under then-governor Angus King.

Upon becoming Lewiston’s mayor, one of my first major battles in Augusta did not have to do with welfare reform: it was paying back to the Maine hospitals money owed them in overdue Medicaid reimbursements.

The total amount owed to those 40 hospitals throughout the state was $750 million.  Of that amount, $40 million was owed to Central Maine Medical Center and $23.7 million to St. Mary’s Hospital.

If you are a senior citizen, you should be deathly afraid of the passage of Question 2.  It may reallocate money from Medicare and deposit into Medicaid, reducing the ability of Medicare to continue to fund services needed by retirees.

In 2012, $17.6 billion (that’s billion with a “B”) was transferred from our Medicare program so the money could be infused into ObamaCare in order to fund that failing program. AARP supported ObamaCare, even though its membership was overwhelmingly against it.  It seems once the law was passed, AARP reportedly made a $1 billion windfall profit.

If you are 65 and planning to vote “Yes” on Question 2, please take time and get all the facts.  If it becomes law, I’ll guarantee you that you will rue the day it passed for the remainder of your years. Medicaid expansion is not for the elderly or for children. It is for able-bodied, working-age adults, most of whom do not have children.

Next year, if you are over 65 and find an increase in your health insurance premium and the policy’s standard deduction; if suddenly your ability to recreate, go to the movies or eat at your favorite restaurant is suddenly less frequent; if you voted Yes on Question 2, or perhaps did not vote at all, then before you start complaining, you need to take a good look in the mirror and look deeply at the source.

On November 7, Question 1 is going to ask you if you want to build a casino in York County.  Whether you are for casinos or against them, please vote “No.”  The Oxford Casino brings a lot of traffic and dollars from both southern Maine and the surrounding states, to our area.

A casino in York County would significantly reduce vehicle traffic and cause a reduction of much-needed cash into our area.

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