Here’s what Bruce Poliquin doesn’t seem to get

Ashley L. Conti | BDN

Yesterday, Congressman Bruce Poliquin launched his first television attack ad against Jared Golden, his opponent.

As the ad fades in, you hear a typical doom-and-gloom voice speaking over a video of Golden jogging in a US Marine Corps t-shirt, questioning “Who is the Jared Golden behind this t-shirt?”

Never mind the absurdity of a Wall Street hustler, like Poliquin, who’s never been anywhere near a battlefield, questioning the fitness apparel choices of a US Marine who served two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, the biggest thing that the ad left me wondering is who does Poliquin actually think he’s talking to?

Today, more and more communities throughout rural Maine are struggling just to survive, and regardless of which side of the political aisle you’re on, pretty much all of us have grown fed up with what’s happening in DC. We’re hungry for substance. We want politicians who’ll give it to us straight – not just make fun of each other’s t-shirts.

The ad then goes on to condemn Golden’s support for the proposed “Medicare for All” policy that Bernie Sanders has been advocating for. According to Poliquin, Bernie’s idea is irresponsible. It’s crazy expensive. It’ll jeopardize the existing programs that elderly Mainers depend on. Public healthcare is such an untenable idea, he’s essentially saying, you’d have to be nuts to vote for somebody like Golden who’d work to enact it.

But, here’s what Bruce Poliquin doesn’t seem to get.

Mainers work hard. A lot of Mainers are putting in long hours at tough jobs, just to earn humble paychecks that stretch less and less far every year. Most Maine seniors have toiled their whole lives, but today, of the few who can afford to retire, many are doing so on increasingly unsteady economic footing. None of us in Maine feel too confident about the future our state is heading into.

But, above all else, we’re tired of being taken advantage of.

Since Poliquin began his current bid for reelection, he’s already taken $165k from the insurance industry, over 80% of it from corporate insurance PACS.

It’s clear what those folks want and why they’re giving him that money. They want to make sure we all keep getting gouged on our monthly premiums, stuck paying for plans with such high deductibles that, unless we get hit by a truck, we’ll still end up paying for our care ourselves. They want to keep our prescription drugs overpriced. They want to make sure that their vice grip on our nation’s healthcare system remains intact, safe from public scrutiny. They want to make sure that nobody in Congress ever threatens their ability to siphon our hard-earned dollars out of our pockets and into theirs.

Bruce Poliquin doesn’t seem to get that everyday Mainers are fed up with corporate insurers, like the ones funding his campaign.

At last count, around 27 million Americans didn’t have health insurance, but that didn’t stop Bruce Poliquin from voting for a policy last summer that, if it had passed, would have left another 23 million Americans without access to healthcare. And it’s not just a national problem, here in Maine over 100,000 Mainers (around one in twelve) don’t have healthcare. It’s hurting our hospitals and clinics too. According to the Maine Hospital Association, between 40% and 50% of Maine hospitals are currently operating at a loss, providing well over half a billion dollars in uncompensated care every year.

In contrast, the Medicare for All policy that Bernie Sanders and Jared Golden are working on has one big thing going for it: per capita, it’s much, much cheaper than the corrupt racket the people paying for Poliquin’s campaign are currently running.

Even conservative estimates project that for 90% of what those of us who currently have private healthcare are paying, we could cover everybody in this country. Those 100,000 Mainers who can’t go to the doctor right now without racking up big personal debts? They’d be covered. That half billion dollars Maine hospitals are currently spending on free care, which they’ll never be compensated for? That’d go away for good. Those absurdly high deductibles? They’ll be a thing of the past, once and for all.

That’s what Bernie Sanders and Jared Golden are working toward.

Bruce Poliquin just doesn’t seem to get it. Mainers aren’t stupid. Campaign finance records are public record. We know who’s paying to produce ads like this one, and we know what those people want. Like hustlers always do, they want to keep their racket going. And they want Bruce Poliquin to make sure the US Congress keeps not just letting them do it, but helping them do it.

The insurance industry can pay as much as they want to run ads promoting Poliquin, telling us that Maine taxpayers would be crazy to want public healthcare. But, if you ask me, what would really be crazy would be for us to continue letting one of their lapdogs remain as one of our state’s top voices in DC.

Maine voters deserve a Congressman with some actual guts, somebody with real backbone, somebody who isn’t afraid to stand up for what’s right and go toe to toe with big Pharma and the corporate insurance titans. We need somebody who’s a fighter, who’ll work for us, not for the greedy health insurance companies. We need somebody like Jared Golden.

Rob Korobkin

About Rob Korobkin

Rob is a software engineer, community organizer, teacher and musician. He can often be found at Peloton Labs, staring at his laptop, drafting diatribes and programming software late into the night.