Paul LePage Threatens His Own Secretary of State Over Medicaid Expansion

Written by SK Ashby

Governor and "man who somehow got elected" Paul LePage is threatening to file a lawsuit against the secretary of state of Maine if he doesn't lie about Medicaid expansion.

Organizers have collected enough signatures to hold a vote on a ballot initiative for expanding Medicaid under Obamacare, which is here to stay, but LePage is quibbling over the wording of the ballot initiative.

LePage is demanding that Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap describe Medicaid expansion as "welfare" on the ballot initiative so people will be less likely to vote for it.

It’s free health care paid for by the taxpayers, and it’s got to be said that way,” LePage told talk radio hosts at WGAN last Thursday. “It’s pure welfare. If you don’t want to call it welfare, call it an entitlement.

In the same interview, LePage threatened to sue the secretary of state if the final ballot language calls the Medicaid expansion “insurance.”

“I’m going to challenge that,” he vowed.

You all know LePage is wrong about Medicaid expansion, but the thing is he's wrong about Medicaid period and Maine does have a Medicaid program. Medicaid expansion is just that: an expansion of the existing program. And Medicaid is not "free" as anyone who has ever paid federal or state taxes of any kind has paid for it. Where do you think sales tax and fees go?

The people of Maine are already paying for Medicaid expansion. Refusing to expand Medicaid does not save the people of Maine any money. Their federal tax dollars are already paying for the program which the LePage administration has refused to participate in while other states do. This means the people of Maine are effectively paying for a program in New York and California which they cannot take advantage of.

If you believe Medicaid expansion is "welfare," well, you're wrong, but you're already paying for it anyway. The only difference is people in your own state cannot access a program they're paying for.

In hindsight, it's kind of ironic that the Supreme Court ruled that states do not have to participate in Medicaid expansion because what that really means is Republican state governments are free to ship their tax dollars out of state instead of keeping it in their own house. I guess that's "states' rights."