Now is not the time to take more money from taxpayers or take resources away from those in need.

First-Term Rep. Josh Morris (R-Turner) delivers weekly Radio Republican Address.

Morris, a member of the Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee, says “now is not the time to take more money from taxpayers or take resources away from those in need.”

Greetings, this is State Representative Joshua Morris, State Representative from Turner

The new Legislature inherited the strongest economy in decades and a more affordable government.

Sound Republican fiscal policies moved Maine away from chronic annual budget shortfalls, created a healthy surplus, lowered taxes and created a strong economy.

Wages continue to rise and Mainers keep more of their hard earned money. Maine’s poverty rate has dropped from a high of 14.7% in 2012 to 11.1% in 2017. Unemployment remains low and work force participation remains high.

Thanks to Governor Paul LePage, Governor Mills started her Administration with money in the bank, good credit, and a strong economy that is getting stronger.

However, there is a shortage of workers to fill available jobs.  Increasing the number of qualified workers to fuel even more business expansion should be a top priority.

With that in mind, Republicans are mystified by Governor Mill’s decision this past week to reject work requirements for “able bodied” adults receiving taxpayer funded health insurance.

In December, Maine received approval from the federal government to require able-bodied adults to meet community engagement and work requirements in order to receive health insurance funded by taxpayers.

Maine employers have a need for able workers and implementing this requirement would incentivize people to fill open jobs.

Requiring “able bodied” adults to be engaged in their communities or working in order to receive taxpayer funded health insurance is not unreasonable and will benefit Maine communities.

Most people I know have to work in order to receive health insurance coverage.

That insurance is usually overpriced and has a high deductible. It is, in most instances, only catastrophic coverage.

Other people, unfortunately, go without health insurance because they cannot afford it, while paying other bills.

For those who are working and can’t afford insurance, it is unfair to have them pay for people who can work or contribute, but choose not to.

To put it another way,

We’re going to allow “able-bodied” adults to get healthcare without having to work or volunteer for it.  At the same time, working Mainers will be working and paying taxes to subsidize it, even if they cannot afford health insurance for themselves or their families.

Now before you start thinking this is hard hearted, consider this:

A work or volunteer requirement can be met by:

  • Working,
  • Attending school,
  • Participating in a work program,
  • Volunteering, or
  • Providing caregiver services for a non-dependent person

Our goal should always be to support people in becoming financially independent, contributing Maine citizens.

A community engagement-work requirement ensures people are building the skills and gaining the experience necessary to improve their financial standing and achieve self-sufficiency.

It instills the value of work, gainful employment and

It preserves our limited financial resources for Maine’s neediest individuals.

Maine’s neediest citizens should receive top priority.

The welfare reforms that have occurred under Republican leadership has increased employment, increased the standard of living for those that were on welfare, and given people new hope, self-esteem and the opportunity for a better life.

Now is not the time to minimize the value of work, or minimize the importance of volunteering to help Maine communities.

Now is also not the time to take more money from taxpayers or take resources away from those in need.

We must continue to expand our workforce to feed our economy,

take care of our elderly, and

protect our most vulnerable citizens.

This has been State Representative Joshua Morris with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.       

Thank you for listening.

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