Press Release: Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Levesque: Washington Political Games will not solve Health Care
Bangor, ME (Nov. 10, 2009) - Rep, Mike Michaud failed Maine people by voting for a bill which he says he "finds problematic" instead of standing up for what is right, said Maine 2nd Congressional District candidate Jason J. Levesque.
Levesque responded to statements Michaud made Tuesday morning on a Bangor radio station where the congressman said he actually thinks the House bill shortchanges Maine. Michaud says he told President Obama of his concerns yet voted for the bill when it came up on the floor Saturday night.
"Congressman Michaud's job is to represent the people of Maine. However, by his own admission, he knows this is bad for Maine taxpayers, bad for seniors and bad for the quality of healthcare but voted for it anyway because he was told to. This is a breach of trust the people of the 2nd District gave him when they hired him for this job and he should be held accountable," Levesque said.
Levesque said Maine senior citizens will suffer because $500-billion is taken away from Medicare and two-thirds of seniors are dropped from Medicare Advantage in order to pay for the House health plan. The State of Maine loses $800-million with the bill which Michaud supported.
"That's especially harmful in our state which has one of the oldest populations in the country," Levesque said.
On the radio station Tuesday morning, Michaud admitted that Maine suffers from the Medicare cuts in the bill but he trusted Washington insiders' promises that he can present his case later.
"That's ridiculous! It should have been a non-starter and Mike Michaud should have held firm that if his vote was so important then they should put it in writing. Instead, he sold out the people of Maine," Levesque said.
Michaud did not stand up and speak out in floor debate about the problems in the bill, he didn't take his case to the people to explain why this bad bill hurts them and he should oppose it, he didn't use his meetings with the President or the Speaker to get needed changes in the bill benefiting Maine people. The bill passed by only five votes and 39 fiscally-conservative Blue Dog Democrats voted against it.
"Mike Michaud proved he's not really a Blue Dog but a Lap Dog for Nancy Pelosi and the big government wing of his party. He admitted as much on the radio this morning that he failed the working families, senior citizens and small business people of Maine," Levesque said.
Levesque said the bill does nothing to contain health care costs and is a giant government power grab.
"The bill doesn't reform anything and will cost at least $1.4-trillion over its first ten years. We can't trust the government to hold to that figure when we see its prior track record. We can't afford the Washington way of waste, fraud and abuse to take over our health care system too," he said.
Levesque said the House bill hurts working families and small business people by adding billions of dollars in new taxes and imperiling employment with the impact of 5.5-million lost jobs.
"This is unconscionable when the 2nd District reels from double-digit unemployment and Mike Michaud's hometown, Millinocket, has one of the highest rates in the country at 14.5-percent," he said.
Levesque said the House bill will actually make it more expensive and difficult for small business people to provide coverage.
"As a businessman, I'm personally affected by this plan from Washington. Instead of making it easier for small business people to do the right thing for their employees, Congress is making it more difficult," he said.
Levesque said health care reform could be achieved with a far less-expensive plan which would:
- Open up insurance markets to sell coverage across state lines and give small businesses and the self-insured a chance to shop for lower rates. Today, purchasers are legally-barred from comparison shopping for the best rates out-of-state.
- Take serious steps to reform the legal system which adds to costs by forcing doctors to practice preventative medicine with unnecessary and expensive procedures just to avoid frivolous lawsuits. Trial lawyers have managed to kill every attempt at consumer protection through tort reform.
- Keep hands off Medicare instead of reducing payments to doctors, causing many elderly to lose access to health care options and specialized coverage.
- Create medical school incentives to bring more health practitioners to rural areas.
- Encourage competition in the health insurance industry instead of creating a government insurance company with an unfair competitive edge, which will eventually end private insurance and drive up costs with a new government bureaucracy running health coverage.
- Allow people to keep the coverage they now have and do not prohibit the choice of insurer when one changes jobs or starts a business.
- Provide incentives to employers to invest in wellness programs which make employees healthier and more productive while reducing their need for expensive health treatments. This comes at a cost which is too expensive for many small employers unless they get tax incentives.
- Create real cost containment by empowering health care consumers to make wise decisions of how they spend health care dollars through full health service pricing disclosure in a clearly understandable manner.
"We still have a chance to force our Congressman to do what is right and voting no on the final bill. He has already put politics before people; let's tell him, it's the people that come first. We need health care reform, but we need reform that will actually reduce costs, increase access for those in rural areas and maintain the high quality of care we have come to appreciate," Levesque told the Maine Federation of Republican Women meeting in Bangor on Tuesday.
LEVESQUE FOR CONGRESS
P.O. BOX 1387
Auburn, ME 04211
Contact: Vic Berardelli, Communications Director