It is February of 2015 and Maine hospitals are taking stock of 2014, the first calendar year under the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. The ACA was supposed to reduce charity care by requiring everyone to have insurance and by providing subsidies for insurance. However, Maine hospitals are reporting that bad debt and charity care costs are actually skyrocketing, according to this report from MPBN Radio. Hospital administrators are focusing on the lack of Medicaid expansion as the cause of bad debt without even mentioning the debt caused by those who were individually mandated to buy insurance but did not do so. It is important to note that in states that have not expanded Medicaid, persons eligible for Medicaid under federal rules have been exempt from the individual mandate.
The MPBN report mentions the unwillingness of Gov. LePage to expand the Maine Medicaid (MaineCare) program and it refers to the modest bipartisan cuts to MaineCare in 2013, but it does not mention the substantial MaineCare expansion over the last 10 years. As a result of vigorous lobbying by the Maine Hospital Association and others, MaineCare was expanded significantly between 2003 and 2011. During these same years, charity care at hospitals grew steadily while 25,000 childless adults were added to MaineCare rolls and bad debt at Maine hospitals grew from 40 million to 215 million dollars.
Urgent message from Shawn Levasseur:
In order to get on the ballot for the special election for the State House seat representing Rockland and Owl's Head, I have been given two weeks to get the needed petition signatures.
The weather has proven that this has been the worst possible two weeks to have to do this in. Blizzards made the first week a near washout. Fortunately I've been able to get a quarter of the signatures i need over this past weekend (along with some frozen toes from the effort)
But more storms may hit during the week, and the signatures are due this coming Monday in Augusta. This coming weekend will determine if I will be able to get on the printed ballot, or have to run as a write-in.
So with this in mind, I'm encouraging anyone who can help with petitioning on Saturday the 14th. If you can help, please call me at 207-594-9365, or email me at Shawn_L@lpme.org. With more hands we can cover several locations at the same time, and be able to ensure that the Libertarian Party will be represented on the special election ballot this March 10th.
I'll be petitioning on Sunday the 15th as well, if need be, and would be glad for any help on that day as well, but there aren't as many prime locations open on that day.
Thanks for your support.
This news item is all over the internet and these events happened far from Maine, yet I feel compelled to blog about this because it exemplifies so much that is wrong with police conduct in our country today.
On January 27, 2015 San Francisco Police Inspector Brian Stansbury arrested San Francisco Deputy Public Defender Jami Tillotson inside the Hall of Justice while she was clearly acting as an attorney representing a client.
So much is wrong with this brief video that I cannot resist making a bulleted list:
- Law must pass the test of common sense every time. A cooperative person who is submitting to an arrest cannnot be arrested for resisting arrest. As this NPR report points out, defending this practice will instantly lead to loss of trust in the police, as it is clear that the only message here is "submit or be arrested."
- Look closely at Brian Stansbury's body language in the video. This macho fellow just can't resist using his size and mannerisms to intimidate a woman. He knows he is in the Hall of Justice and on camera but that is not going to stop him. I don't know inspector Stansbury, but I am concerned that the San Francisco Police Department's defense of a misogynist bully will not be good for their reputation.
- Inspector Stansbury is a defendant in a 2013 civil rights lawsuit. The plaintiff in that lawsuit is one of Brian Stansbury's fellow SFPD officers who was arrested by Stansbury while off duty. Inspector Stansbury charged his colleague, who is black, with resisting arrest, but that charge was later dismissed. Stansbury is accused of choking the plaintiff, after profiling him by asking the plaintiff repeatedly if he was on parole or probation at the time of the arrest.
- Finally, I will repeat something that many have already mentioned but which is very much worth repeating. If Brian Stansbury is comfortable conducting himself in the manner shown on the video above, knowing that he is on camera inside the Hall of Justice in front of an officer of the court, how does he behave in the dark alleys of his city?
If you are eligible to vote in Maine and care about Liberty and Justice, please register to vote as a Libertarian by writing-in the word Libertarian on the Maine voter application.
Shawn Levasseur has announced his candidacy for the Maine State House seat 93, serving Rockland and Owl's Head.
His full press release is on his campaign website.
Gov. LePage’s 2015 Tax Plan is Almost the Same as the 2009 Tax Law Written by Democrats and Repealed by People’s Veto in 2010. There is NO Difference Between Major Parties.
As we work to register 5,000 Mainers as Libertarians by December first, one might ask – Why do we need a strong third party? The answer is – because we need new fresh ideas. Case in point – the similarity between the tax proposal by Gov. LePage this year and the law passed by the Democratic Legislature and Gov. Baldacci in 2009.
To paraphrase Yogi Berra, in theory there is a difference between the two parties but in practice there is not. You only have to go back to 2009 to remember LD 1495 passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Baldacci. That law, designed by the Democrats to expand the tax base, lowered the state income tax to a flat rate of 6.5% and expanded the 5.5% sales tax to many services. There were multiple complicated tax rates for meals and rental cars and even a special tax rate for candy. This law was repealed by people’s veto in 2010 (Question 1 in the June 2010 election).
We are now in 2015 and LePage is proposing increasing the sales tax to 6.5% and expanding it to cover more services. The top income tax rate would be lowered to 5.75%. There are some important differences here, such as repeal of the estate tax and, most importantly, cuts to municipal revenue sharing that make property tax increases likely in some towns. The proposal doubles the homestead exemption for senior citizens to $20,000 while eliminating it for people under 65. If property taxes were held flat, LePage’s proposal would reduce spending by $267 million (Detailed Tax Foundation Report Here). As we all know streamlining educational bureaucracy is difficult and there is no guarantee against property tax increases.Read more
As we embark on the exciting endeavor of registering 5,000 Mainers as Libertarians, I am sometimes asked about the level of support for libertarian ideas in the mainstream of our society. The libertarian party quiz shows plainly that most people value our ideals, but sometimes a specific case reveals how these ideals apply to real life scenarios.
When the case of Eric Garner first hit the news, strong emotion and outrage prevented any discussion of the factors that contributed to his death. The only topics that seemed appropriate in the mainstream were the issues of race and police conduct. When Senator Rand Paul talked about New York cigarette taxes as a contributing factor, he was widely ridiculed by commentators ranging from serious editorialists to Jon Stewart for insensitivity to race issues and misplaced focus.
With this in mind I was surprised to hear NPR's Robert Siegel confronting New York City police commissioner William Bratton on the issue of cigarette tax in this interview on NPR's All Things Considered on Friday.
On Wednesday, the Associated Press ran a news item about a false truck bomb scare at the federal courthouse in Bangor. The story was picked up by MPBN today. A concerned citizen contacted police about an unfamiliar rental truck parked next to the courthouse. An investigation by local police found that the there was no bomb and that the truck was full of "light bulbs stacked on pallets" (MPBN story http://news.mpbn.net/post/bangor-police-low-price-light-bulbs-be-sold-chicago ).
Further investigation revealed that the bulbs were purchased in Maine with discounts subsidized by Efficiency Maine and were being transported to Chicago to be sold at market rate there. Efficiency Maine calls itself an "independent administrator for energy efficiency programs in Maine" but Efficiency Maine does not earn the money it spends on these programs.
Ballot Access News: Maine Libertarian Party Files Paperwork to Begin to Qualify as a “Political Party”
From Richard Winger at Ballot Access News:
The Maine Libertarian Party has become the first group to comply with the 2013 law that says if a group wants to qualify as a political party, it must notify the state in December of an even-numbered year. Such a group then has a year to obtain 5,000 registered members.
Read the rest at Ballot Access News
Within a few weeks, Maine citizens will have the ability to register to vote as Libertarians. The state just has to inform the cities and towns of this change, then we will have the go ahead to start changing our registrations.
The process to make the Libertarian Party an officially recognized political party in Maine begins now!
We need to send the state the signatures of ten registered voters who are not registered as being in any of the recognized parties, a.k.a. Unenrolled Voters, on a form declaring the intent to form a party by registration.
The LPME Executive Committee is meeting tomorrow (Saturday, Dec. 20th) at 10 A.M. at the Brunswick Library, if you want to help us with your signature, please show up. If you can't, but would still like to sign, call us at 207-518-7493, or e-mail Chair@lpme.org. We can have someone to meet you to sign the form, as the form can only be turned in this month.
This is but the first step...Read more
We are saddened by the untimely passing of Andrew Ian Dodge, libertarian candidate for US Senate in 2012. We will always remember his energetic campaign during which he ran agains both major party candidates and Angus King. Andrew collected his own signatures to get on the statewide ballot, produced his own campaign materials, and then tirelessly drove his turbocharged Subaru to events all over the state. His dedication to the cause of liberty will not be forgotten and we offer our condolences to his wife Kim and his mother Elizabeth.