Rep. Kenneth Fredette: NH should avoid Maine’s Medicaid mistake
New Hampshire’s median household income is about $65,000 to Maine’s $48,000. Your unemployment rate has been among the lowest in the country since the recession. Liberals in Maine like to tout welfare programs that are designed to reduce poverty, but our poverty rate is 58 percent higher than yours, despite Maine ranking second in the nation for welfare spending as a percentage of overall state spending.
We’ve made a lot of positive changes here in Maine thanks to Gov. Paul LePage and a Republican legislative majority in 2011-2012. Those reforms began to lower taxes, trim regulations, reform welfare and bring some fiscal sanity to Augusta, and people are starting to take notice. But there’s a long way to go.
In fact, our competitive advantage with your state would be greatly enhanced if we managed to resist Obamacare’s welfare expansion while you embrace it.
All of the promises of Medicaid expansion have fallen flat. Emergency room usage goes up, not down, with Medicaid coverage. Charity care provided by our hospitals has tripled. Federal matching rates have been slashed. Physical health outcomes are no better. Cost and enrollment levels were not manageable; instead, expansion shattered its original cost estimates.
Rep. Kenneth Fredette of Newport, Maine, is the Republican Leader in the Maine House of Representatives.
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Basket case: Saga of a supermarket