Maine's Governor Paul LePage didn't mince any words in his radio address on Saturday when he referred to the IRS as "the new Gestapo."
LePage said the court decision has "made America less free."
"We the people have been told there is no choice," he said. "You must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo -- the IRS."
Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant, responding to LePage's remarks, said, "We've come to expect a bunch of nonsense from Gov. LePage, but this is a step too far. There appears now to be no limit to the extreme language he will use to misinform, degrade and insult people. Somebody needs to explain to him that he's the governor of a state, and not a talk radio host. I demand a full apology on behalf of all those who suffered at the hands of the real Gestapo."
"There is nothing that degrades politics more than purported leaders who so cavalierly invoke the worst in human history when they can't get their way in legitimate, modern policy disagreements," Grant said.
LePage also addressed another element of the health-care law that was immediately thrust into the public debate: Medicaid expansion. Originally, the Affordable Care Act required states to increase eligibility for low-income residents or pay a penalty. The court decision struck down the penalty; however, the federal government is still offering to pay for the expansion.
The federal government will fund 100 percent of the expansion from 2014 to 2016, gradually declining to 90 percent after that.
LePage says he needs more answers before making a decision about the Medicaid expansion, which has been assailed by fellow Republican governors. At least 15 have said they'll forgo the federal funding.
Methinks the Dems protest too much. LePage may have violated the so-called "Godwin's Law" that prohibits Nazi analogies when criticizing an opponent. But you don't have to go far to find Democrats being equally hyperbolic about Republicans.
LePage should apologize when the Democrats do it.
As for the rest, LePage is spot on. No longer able to force states to expand Medicaid, governors are going to have to look very closely at what the expansion will mean budget wise as well as the kind of care that will be possible when the numbers of insureds are massively increased.
It may turn out that the expansion is fiscally imprudent without federal dollars (Washington will support the increased costs for only 4 years). Whatever they decide, it is going to impact the care of millions.