Maine’s House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport) has come up with probably the most novel excuse ever for refusing federal funding for Medicaid expansion in his state. Fredette explained on the House floor that his “man’s brain” can’t support the life-saving gift — which would expand MaineCare to cover 70,000 low-income residents — from the federal government because, well, Men Are From Mars, Democrats Are From Venus:
As I listen to the debate today and earlier debate on this bill, I can’t help but think of a title of a book, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. And it’s a book about the fact that men sort of think one way in their own brain, in their own world. And women think another way in their own brain and in their own world. And it really talks about the way that men and women can do a better job at communicating. Because if you listen to the debate today, in my mind — a man’s mind — I hear two fundamental issues. From the other side of the aisle, I hear the conversation being about: free. ‘This is free, we need to take it, and it’s free. And we need to do it now.’ And that’s the fundamental message that my brain receives. Now, my brain, being a man’s brain, sort of thinks differently, because I say, well, it’s not — if it’s free, is it really free? Because I say, in my brain, there’s a cost to this.
Maine People’s Alliance Health Care Organizer Jennie Pirkl took exception to this ridiculous characterization, saying that “this isn’t about women and men; it’s about life and death. Fredette would probably say that I only think this way because of my ‘woman’s brain,’ but I find it incredibly distasteful for him to use offensive, gender-based stereotypes to advance his anti-health care agenda.”
What’s more, Pirkl points out, “he’s lying about the bill. Even the conservative Heritage Foundation admits that accepting federal health care funding will save the state $690 million over the next decade while providing health care coverage for 70,000 more Maine people.”
Luckily, Fredette’s manly-man gibberish didn’t hold much sway with the Democratic-led House, which passed the expansion with a 97-51 bipartisan show of support, though it limits the state’s participation after three years and raises co-pays.
However, since passage fell just short of a two-thirds vote, the measure may still be vetoed by Republican governor Paul LePage, who opposes expansion and has already rejected a version of the bill once before.
Watch Fredette cement his place in the Crazy Hall of Fame below, courtesy of Maine People’s Alliance: