March 1, 2013

Bill Nemitz: Gov. Christie, please phone your buddy in Maine

(Continued from page 1)

Or Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who correctly noted during her state-of-the-state speech last month that by slamming the conservative door on Medicaid expansion, "Arizona's tax dollars would simply be passed to another state -- generating jobs and providing health care for citizens in California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico or any other expansion state."

Together, you all could explain to Gov. LePage that the more he sticks to his rhetorical guns -- he calls the Medicaid expansion a "degradation of our nation's premier health care system" -- the more those guns seem to be pointed at his own foot.

Tell him that there comes a time in every governor's tenure when what's best for your state trumps what's best for your base -- particularly when that base screams "Stop all government spending!" even as they apply for heating fuel assistance and wait by the mailbox for their Social Security checks.

You might even point out to LePage that Maine taxpayers face a double whammy here: In addition to subsidizing Medicaid expansion for states that know a good deal when they see one (read: the rest of New England), we'll ultimately face higher premiums as hospitals pass on the cost of "charity care" for the uninsured to our health insurance carriers.

I know, Gov, Christie, that's a lot for our guy and his administration to wrap their heads around.

Heck, just last week Mary Mayhew, our commissioner of health and human services, banged out a long letter to the Maine Legislature exulting in a $33 million grant -- every dime of which flows from the Affordable Care Act -- to help Maine upgrade its health-care delivery system.

Not once -- in over 1,000 words -- did Mayhew use the word "federal." Apparently, she and LePage want us to believe that money just fell from the sky.

My point here -- and I suspect you already know this, Gov. Christie -- is that LePage & Co. are so rooted in their tea party doctrine that they don't know an extremely good deal when they see one. Or, if they in fact do see it, they simply don't care.

You, sir, vaulted right over that philosophical hump. You stepped back, took in the big picture, and told the tea partiers to go soak their heads.

In short, Gov. Christie, you behaved like a true leader.

So call your buddy Paul, will you please?

Thank him for the gifts from little Audrey.

Assure him, just as you told her, that you love him.

Then tell him -- just between Big Guys -- what you can see all the way from New Jersey.

He's crazy.


Bill Nemitz can be contacted at 791-6323 or at:


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