Maine was one of 26 states to challenge the Obama administration’s health care reform law all the way to the Supreme Court.
But Mainers are just as passionately divided about the Affordable Care Act as other Americans.
As news of the historic decision swept through the state Thursday, it brought joy and relief to some and frustration and disgust to others.
“This is a massive overreach by the federal government, and is infringing upon the individual choices that we, as Americans, have in pursuing our own American Dream,” said Gov. Paul Lepage, who had promised to try to overturn the law since before taking office.
“This decision erodes the freedoms which made the United States the greatest country on Earth,” LePage said in a prepared statement. “It is a sad day, and it is now up to the American people to demand full repeal of Obamacare. The Washington, D.C., elites cannot and should not run our lives.”
U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, voted for the law in 2010 and praised the ruling. Pingree is married to S. Donald Sussman, majority share owner of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram.
“The court made the right decision in preserving the basic consumer protections in the health care reform law – like letting young people stay on their parents’ policies or preventing insurance companies from cancelling your coverage when you get sick. The court did the right thing by ruling in favor of consumers instead of siding with the big insurance companies,” she said.
Virtually every Maine employer, worker, hospital, doctor, patient, parent and child is affected by Thursday’s ruling.
The political fallout for Maine’s Legislature surfaced almost immediately, as the two parties argued over what the ruling means and whether the state can move forward with plans to end MaineCare coverage for 27,000 residents.
For the candidates running for Congress, meanwhile, the ruling became a rallying point both for those who support it and those who want it repealed.
Technically, Maine lost the case when the court issued its ruling Thursday. In reality, that depends on who you ask.
We take a closer look at the ruling’s ramifications for Maine on Page A6.