LePage: Susan Collins ‘Should Start Paying Attention’ to Mainers

Governor blasts state's GOP senator for rejecting last-ditch effort to reform Obamacare

by Kathryn Blackhurst | Updated 25 Sep 2017 at 2:50 PM

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) blasted Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) for rejecting the GOP Senate’s latest attempt to deliver health care reform, saying Collins “should start paying attention to Maine people” and their specific needs, during an interview Monday on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”

Collins said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that “it’s very difficult for me to envision a scenario where I would end up voting for” the so-called Cassidy-Graham bill that would replace Obamacare’s insurance subsidies and Medicare expansion with a block grant program. Saying she harbors “a number of serious reservations” about the bill, its cost and its coverage, Collins appears to be a “no” vote on the GOP’s last-ditch effort to reform Obamacare before a September 30 deadline.

"It's not about Susan Collins," LePage said. "It’s about Maine people. Maine people stand to get 44 percent more money in this bill."

But the 44 percent increase in health care funding for Maine wasn't enough to woo the moderate Republican senator as she succumbed to Democratic pressure.

"A lot of the people in Washington, D.C., right now and the United States Senate have overstayed their welcome. It’s time we made some changes," LePage said. "And [Collins] needs to be voting for this because she should be on a national level — she should be looking after Maine people."

LePage met with Vice President Mike Pence in Washington, D.C., on Friday to discuss the GOP's latest health care bill and team up to apply pressure on the state's holdout GOP senator.

"[Pence] really wants to fix healthcare. He understands that one size does not fit all," LePage said. "And I compare the state of Maine against the state of Utah. Utah is one of the fastest growing states with the youngest population median age in the country under 30 years old. They’re concerned about pediatrics and childbirth. In the state of Maine, we’re the oldest state in America and my biggest concern is end of life because we have more people at the highest end of the line."

"More people are dying than are being born, and that’s the problem I deal with — totally different needs and wants," LePage said. "And that’s what the president and the vice president are trying to get across to America. Let’s make it work for everyone."

LePage said he loved the idea of a 44 percent increase in federal health care funding for Maine, noting that the states of New York and California "get somewhere around 30 percent of all health care money coming out of Washington while the states of Texas and Florida, who have a similar population, get 10 percent."

"Let’s not do it based on dollars and cents, but let’s do it based on American population," LePage added. "The state of Maine should get more money because we’re the oldest state in America and we’ve spent more of our resources in health care toward end of life, which is the most costly part of health care. And so we haven't been complaining."

The Maine governor said that his state was succeeding in lowering health care insurance premiums and deductibles while vastly improving the quality of its health care before "we were pushed aside" and Obamacare swooped in and interfered.

"Let’s go back," LePage said. "We had a good program, and this is what is so disheartening with Senator Susan Collins, is we ... have the program that can help America. And she just is so concerned about family planning that she can’t see beyond."

"So I really don’t understand where the senator’s coming from," LePage added. "She should start paying attention to Maine people."

(photo credit, homepage image: Matt Gagnon, Wikimedia; photo credit, article image: Gage Skidmore, Flickr)

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