This article appeared in Tuesday's edition of the Lewiston Sun Journal
Maine lawmakers prep for short session to start Wednesday
Senate Republican Leader Michael Thibodeau on Medicaid Expansion:"If anything, our opposition has absolutely strengthened in regards to the expansion," Thibodeau said. "The absolute failure of Obamacare and the way that's been implemented, this is a part of Obamacare and a key component of Obamacare. I can't imagine that Senate Republicans or any Republicans are going to be anxious to run out and sign up to be part of that failed program at this point."
AUGUSTA —Bills addressing issues ranging from slot machines to renewable energy to revamping a state-sponsored health care rides program await lawmakers Wednesday at the State House.
But topping the list is what appears to be a more than $100 million state budget shortfall and no proposal from Republican Gov. Paul LePage on how to fix it.
So far, LePage has been sticking to his position that he offered lawmakers a state budget that was balanced in 2013 and they rejected it, so he will let them fix any shortfall.
Calls and email messages to LePage's office seeking comment were not returned Monday.
The below column was published in the Lewiston Sun Journal.
Michael Thibodeau, Garrett Mason: Obamacare rollout doesn't inspire confidence in Medicaid expansion
Those who liked the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), are going to love the federal government’s offer to Maine to expand its Medicaid welfare program. And if you’ve been paying any attention to the Obamacare launch, there’s not much to like so far.
These two topics, Obamacare and Medicaid expansion, have dominated the headlines here in Maine recently, and many people assume there's no connection between the two.There is. In fact they are one and the same.
As a matter of fact, Medicaid (which is actually welfare) expansion is one of the main components of Obamacare. With the goal of providing universal coverage to all Americans, the Affordable Care Act gives individual states incentives to increase the number of people who are eligible for Medicaid (in Maine, the Medicaid program is called “MaineCare”). The offer from the feds is to pay for 100 percent of Maine’s MaineCare expansion for the first three years. After that, the state of Maine starts picking up a big part of the tab.
A Special Christmas Message from Governor Paul R. LePage
As we gather with friends and family this week to celebrate Christmas, I am reminded how blessed I am to have such a wonderful family.
Hello, this is Governor Paul LePage.
As Governor, it is as important for me to help provide opportunities for my family to stay in Maine as it is for your children and grandchildren to live, work and play in our great State.
This holiday season, I hope you are encouraged at the direction Maine is moving.
Maine’s Unemployment Rate Drops 20 Percent since Governor LePage Took Office
Rate is lowest since 2008
AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage announced today that the unemployment rate for November has fallen to 6.4 percent, the third consecutive monthly drop since September and the lowest rate since 2008.
The unemployment rate fell to 6.9 percent in September, dropped to 6.7 percent in October and then dropped again to 6.4 percent in November. One year ago in November, the rate was 7.2 percent.
“We have been working hard for three years to improve the business climate in Maine so our companies can do what they do best: create jobs,” said the Governor. “We have reduced taxes, cut red tape, streamlined regulations and made fiscally responsible decisions to right-size government. All of these factors make Maine more competitive in attracting and retaining jobs.”
According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of unemployed people in Maine has fallen by 5,400 from this time last year.