Maine Gov. LePage: Sens. ‘Dangerous’ For Not Supporting O’Care Repeal

**OTK**In this Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011 photo, Gov. Paul LePage reacts during a news conference at the State House in Augusta, Maine..  (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach)
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) called his state’s two U.S. senators “dangerous” on Tuesday for not supporting Republicans’ effort to repeal Obamacare.

Sens. Susan Collins (R) and Angus King (I) both voted against Republicans’ effort to pass a cobbled-together Obamacare repeal bill, which Senate leadership then hoped House Republicans would agree to send to a conference, where the “real” legislation would be written. Before that, both senators voted against several other Obamacare repeal efforts. Collins has been the most resolute Republican vote against the effort.

“When it comes to providing affordable health care to the people of Maine, Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King are worse than out of touch—they are downright dangerous,” LePage wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

The outspoken governor asserted that Maine’s 2002 Medicaid expansion “nearly bankrupted our state.”

Republicans’ various Obamacare repeal efforts would have rolled back Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion funding, and many made much deeper long-term cuts to the program.

“But now Ms. Collins and Mr. King are pushing to do it again by refusing to reform ObamaCare and prevent the future expansion of Medicaid,” LePage wrote.

“Each state should have the autonomy to tailor its Medicaid program to suit the needs of its enrollees and taxpayers,” he added later, arguing that “states should be allowed to add work requirements, increase the frequency of eligibility determinations, and reduce retroactive eligibility from 90 days to 30.”

In a joint statement, Collins and King responded to the op-ed: “After months of conversations and research, we both reached the same inescapable conclusion that the Senate health care bill would have been extremely harmful to our state, particularly to our most vulnerable populations, including children with disabilities and low-income seniors,” they wrote.

This post has been updated.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

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