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Congressman Bruce Poliquin

Representing the 2nd District of Maine

Rep. Poliquin Fights to Take Care of Rural and Elderly Mainers in White House Meeting

March 21, 2017
Press Release
Congressman Poliquin pushes the White House and House Leadership to make improvements to the bill in a meeting today with the President

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Bruce Poliquin (ME-02) urged the President and House Leadership to ensure that rural Mainers and the elderly would be able to buy policies under the American Health Care Act, the Affordable Care Act — commonly called ObamaCare — replacement moving through Congress.


This afternoon, Congressman Poliquin met directly with the President at the White House to urge him and House Leadership to push for increased benefits for those nearing retirement — those between the ages 50 and 64 — and families living in rural areas. In addition to making coverage more affordable and stopping the individual market from imploding, Congressman Poliquin pushed for an increase in the new tax credits to help these populations purchase health care insurance in the new market.


Congressman Poliquin released the following statement after it was announced that a number of new, key amendments will be made to the health care relief bill:


“New provisions now being added to the health care proposal will allow states the option to put in place welfare reforms which have been successfully implemented in Maine for other programs,” said Congressman Poliquin. “These new provisions will give states the flexibility to require non-disabled people without children to work, participate in training programs, or volunteer in order to receive taxpayer-funded Medicaid welfare benefits. Maine’s welfare reforms are working and the state, and other states, should have the option to continue these reforms.


“It’s also important to protect Maine from being penalized based on our state’s decision not to expand welfare to those who are able-bodied and without children. Maine should have the flexibility to make decisions on how best to operate its Medicaid program. In the past, Maine experienced a massive nearly $750 million hospital debt as a result of welfare expansion which was not properly funded. Giving states, like Maine, the option to use block grants will give the State Legislature and Governor’s office the tools to tailor policies that will directly benefit our most needed Maine citizens. Recent changes to the legislation to allow for flexibility in Medicaid and work requirements improve the bill as it comes to a vote.


“I will continue to push for additional reforms. I am concerned about the current legislation’s impact on those nearing retirement who are not yet on Medicare. Today, I urged the White House and House Leadership to improve provisions of the bill for those near retirement as it relates to health care costs.


As I stated previously, I was encouraged with two specific provisions in the original bill that retain coverage for those with pre-existing health conditions and give the option for young adults to stay on their parents’ policies so they can become established in the workforce.


“It is critical that everyone acknowledge that, as we have seen in Maine, ObamaCare is failing. The largest ObamaCare health insurance provider in Maine, Community Health Options in Lewiston, lost $58 million just last year. Anthem, one of only two other health insurance companies doing business in Maine, announced it would begin the process to stop writing ObamaCare coverage in 2018 if the collapsing law is not changed. Congress must act to fix these problems. We have no choice.”


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