The BDN May 2 editorial, criticizing Gov. Paul LePage’s 182 vetoes was, for the most part, on target.
However, I must take issue with the description of a bill to study health care options in Maine as “transitioning Maine to an entirely government-run health care system.” This mischaracterization of the bill (LD 1345) entirely over-simplifies the issues of concern and serves only to feed right-wing paranoia about socialized medicine.
And to suggest that LD 1345 was brought up as a ploy to elicit a veto from LePage is entirely misplaced. People have worked for years on this bill, and it has been brought before the Legislature several times in the past, before LePage’s term in office.
LD 1345 is a resolve that proposes to study the most affordable ways to provide basic and life-saving health care to all Maine people. It addresses the millions of dollars that Maine spends on “anything but health care” in our health care budget.
An internationally recognized economist, Dr. William Hsiao, offered testimony to the Legislature in 2010, in which he credibly estimated that Maine could save $1 billion in the first year if we converted to a single-payer health care system. For a fraction of the money, we just spent analyzing Medicaid expansion, Maine could hire Dr. Hsiao or a comparable expert to determine if and how we could save money and provide decent health care for everyone, save lives and improve Maine’s health outcomes.
Dr. Julie Pease
Published in the May 16, 2014, Bangor Daily News