Maine’s 2nd Congressional District Profiles: Question #2 

There are two men vying for Maine’s second district seat in U.S. Congress.Current Democratic Representative Mike Michaud is being challenged by Republican Jason Levesque.We asked the candidates what their plans are on a number of issues concerning Mainers.Both Michaud and Levesque were asked the same exact question.Here is the second in our series of six questions:’Is the health care plan passed by Congress working? If so, what specifically is helping Mainers? If not, what would you do differently?’We start with Republican Jason Levesque. “It’s not working period. I mean I’ve been all over the state for fifteen months and I’ve heard stories. Company’s health insurance premiums on renewal are going up anywhere from fifteen to thirty percent. We’re seeing in the news everyday about one company having to drop their health care because they can’t afford it. As a small business owner myself I take great pride being able to offer health insurance to my employees. I want to make sure my employees are taken care of, most small businesses in Maine do. This current health care legislation that congressman Michaud voted for is the wrong approach. It’s going to decrease the quality of care, and in the long term it’s going to hurt Maine businesses and going to put unemployment sky high.”Next we asked the same question to Democrat Representative Mike Michaud. “The part of the program that’s currently in effect actually has had some positive aspect for instance giving tax credits for small businesses if they provide health care for their employees that’s already in effect. When you look at eliminating pre-existing conditions that’s in affect and is going to be positive nationwide. Maine has already had pre-existing conditions as part of the law already. Closing the so called donut hole for our senior citizens that would have to pay a huge amount out of pocket for their prescription drugs, we start to eliminate that actually this year in the health care bill. “Another portion doesn’t get talked about much but will have a big impact and I hope employers will take advantage of it. Is the fact that one of the issues I’ve heard over and over again from people who work in the mills and other areas is at the age where they can retire but they’re not retiring because of health care, so they’re staying on longer, so they can get on medicare. In this legislation actually and is affective now is that actually will give benefits to employers if they offer some type of early health care proposals.. So if people want to retire early they can retire early and get on medicare, so that’s something important that’s in affect now. “Another area that has a tremendous impact if you look at the cost in health care non-compensated health care costs for hospitals is a big issue, as well as emergency care which is extremely expensive. In the health care bill there’s money for federally qualified health care clinics. They’re actually looking to double the size of individuals going to the health care clinics. So I think that will actually help with the cost of health care as well and that’s in effect now. Maine has actually been very fortunate to receive millions of dollars to start that expansion here in Maine right now, so that’s something I’m very pleased with.”To learn more about the candidates and their opinions on the issues you can visit their campaign websites.Jason Levesque’s is www.levesqueforcongress.comMike Michaud’s is