The most expensive issue being discussed at the State House this winter is the expansion of MaineCare, a program that originally was designed to provide medical coverage to poor families. It’s been expanded over the years to include more and more individuals. MaineCare now covers more than 300,000 people and consumes 25 percent of the entire state budget. The expansion currently being debated would add another 70,000 to those rolls.

Who are these 70,000 individuals? Believe it or not, they’re able-bodied adults between the ages of 19 and 64. More than half are single men and women without children who could work if they wanted to. With some effort on their part, they could qualify for a subsidy under Obamacare and buy their own health insurance for no more than $10 per week. No matter what you hear, adding these folks to MaineCare is going to cost Maine people who get up and go to work every day millions in new taxes. That’s money that we could use to reduce property taxes.

Even if this expansion were free, is it the right thing to do? Should society provide for people at no cost what they are perfectly capable of providing for themselves? I don’t think so and will not be voting to give more welfare to people who should be taking care of themselves.

Sen. Doug ThomasR-Ripley

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