May 26, 2018
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Androscoggin GOP asks LePage for special session to oppose Obamacare

By Christopher Cousins, BDN Staff

Republicans in Androscoggin County have asked Gov. Paul LePage to call a special session of the Legislature to consider passing a resolve in opposition to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

The Androscoggin County Republican Party approved a resolution to that effect Monday after a nearly unanimous vote, according to a press release circulated Wednesday morning by Chris Dixon, director of an organization called the Maine Tenth Amendment Center.

The 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution deals with states rights and grants to the states powers not reserved for the federal government or withheld from the states.

The resolve calls for nullification legislation that would declare the federal law unconstitutional and authorize LePage and state lawmakers to take steps to block its implementation.

Durham Republican Committee Secretary Jason Greene introduced the measure and suggested that Maine could mirror its opposition to the Bush-era Real ID Act.

“There is no enumerated power for the federal government to create a national ID and there is no enumerated power authorizing the feds to run the entire U.S. health care system,” Greene said in a press release. “Maine and several other states refused to comply with the Real ID and said, ‘We aren’t going to go along with it; it is unconstitutional.’ Because of this, that law is basically gone and is not being enforced. We need to do the same thing with Obamacare.”

The Maine Constitution outlines two ways the Legislature can convene in special session. One is for the governor to order it, which the Constitution says must happen under “extraordinary circumstances.” The other is that Legislative leaders can call the session, but only with a majority vote of lawmakers from both major political parties.

Greene said other county GOP committees are also considering similar resolutions.

In 2011, Rep. Richard Cebra, R-Naples, introduced legislation to prohibit enforcement of the Affordable Care Act. It was rejected by lawmakers.

LePage said last week that he was considering calling a special session of the Legislature in the coming weeks, but didn’t say what he would have them debate. Since then, his office has been vague about whether or not he intends to move forward with his idea. The Maine Hospital Association has said the session would deal, at least in part, with repaying millions of dollars owed to the state’s hospitals.

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