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Learn More About Why We Need to Pay Our Hospitals & Why We Support Governor LePage’s Common Sense Plan
Under Governor Baldacci the State of Maine saw an increase in welfare spending. In the middle of budget woes, brought on by high state spending and declining revenues, a decision was made by Governor Baldacci with the help of his party’s majority in the Legislature to simply delay – and therefore ignore – bills the state owed to Maine’s hospitals. Over time that amount of money ballooned to nearly $500 million now owed by the State, despite the fact that Governor LePage started paying down the debt during his first year in office.
As a result of this debt, news reports have been filled with job cuts at hospitals all across Maine, further harming Maine’s economy. Hospitals in many cases have increased costs as well, as some are using revolving credit lines – more debt – to make it from month-to-month. These costs and the failure of Maine to pays its bills have threatened care for senior citizens and families as hospital staffs and administrators are unduly stressed from layoffs and budget concerns. Hospitals have delayed construction projects and technology advances.
Governor LePage has said this debt is an embarrassment to Maine. So he proposed a creative plan to pay the hospitals in full, almost immediately, without raising taxes on Maine families or small business owners who create jobs.
As newspapers reported, back in 2004 Governor Baldacci sold the State’s liquor contract to an out-of-state, Wall Street backed company who gave the State the small upfront payment to get a very large return. With a successful background in business, Governor LePage realized that a new contract could be put out to bid – allowing multiple companies including those based right in Maine to openly bid on it – increasing competition and offering the State of Maine a better deal. With those increased funds the Governor could pay off the hospitals, using the leverage of a federal government match which will give the State a large sum matching the state’s payment.
It is critical to act now because the federal match drops over time. Every delay costs the state millions of dollars more.
Newspaper editorials in the Lewiston Sun Journal and the Bangor Daily News have backed the Governor’s approach. Maine’s hospital association has also put their support behind the Governor’s idea. Associations of job creators like the Associated General Contractors and the Associated Builders and Contractors support the Governor’s plan. Individual hospitals across the state have written to the Governor’s office with support. The Governor also noted in his plan that when the hospitals are paid, it will reduce the State’s debt burden allowing him to release a large number of bonds that will create jobs in Maine.
However, the Legislature has not acted – they have not allowed the Governor’s plan to move forward. They are delaying the hospital payments.
Some have said it is only politics, putting politics before people. Others say some politicians just want another quick payment from a new liquor contract – leaving millions on the table and the taxpayers shortchanged. Others say some politicians want the money from the liquor contract to spend on their own pet priorities, rather than paying off the hospital debt now.
We are giving Maine people a chance to speak out and ask that these hospital bills get paid now by supporting the Governor’s plan.
Please sign the petition above and, more importantly, please use the tools along the right-hand side of this page to contact your friends and ask them to sign as well.
Watch this video from the Governor’s Office with more background on the plan:
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