There will always be times in our lives when we need a helping hand. And if we are going to have a social safety net to catch people when they fall and help them get back up again, we need to make sure that’s what these programs are doing. Instead, steep welfare cliffs strip Maine people of benefits if they take a promotion or pay raise, trapping many into cycles of perpetual poverty and welfare dependence.

During my two terms in the Maine Senate, I championed Welfare Reform. I spearheaded proposals to prioritize benefits for our most vulnerable seniors and intellectually-disabled, paying for it by ending welfare to non-citizens and enacting work requirements for childless able-bodied adults.

When Maine welfare dollars were being legally spent on alcohol, cigarettes and lottery tickets; I changed the law and put a stop to it.

Unfortunately, every welfare reform above was opposed by my Democrat opponent.
When the people of Maine send me to Congress, I will use my proven track record to push for real change at the national level. It’s no secret that there is massive waste and abuse in federal welfare programs, but Washington is too afraid to attempt any meaningful reforms.

While welfare can be helpful on a temporary basis, in the long term it can trap people in dependency and make it difficult to get back to work. I’ve seen this first-hand and that’s why I worked hard to change the system.

For those who are able-bodied and trapped on the welfare system, let’s help you get to work. My family knows how hard it can be to get ahead.

My grandmother was trapped by the system

My grandmother raised seven kids by herself in Poland, Maine. She was a strong woman who stretched every penny to keep food on the table and shirts on her children’s backs. She took welfare, but she wanted to work and contribute. She took jobs cleaning houses, only to discover that for every dollar she earned, two dollars in benefits were taken away. The harder she worked, the further her family fell behind. She was trapped.

Medicaid is the steepest welfare cliff

We need to eliminate welfare cliffs, the steepest of which is Medicaid. Once put on Medicaid, bureaucrats get to dictate to your doctor what kind of care you can receive and the benefits are all or nothing.

Instead of letting Medicad dollars be controlled by the bureaucrats, let’s put them directly into personal accounts that individual beneficiaries control. Not only does that put them in charge of their relationship with their doctor, you can eliminate the welfare cliff by making benefits available on a sliding scale based on income and disability. Individuals could use these funds to buy health insurance for rare and catastrophic events while saving the rest for plannable, routine healthcare.

Empowering people

This broken welfare program doesn’t empower people. It empowers government bureaucrats. People who get behind on bills will call the welfare office for a little temporary help to get by are told to quit their jobs in order to qualify.  

If we are going to help people, let’s actually help them. Let’s give them more power over their lives, not less. Welfare takes the control out of the hands of the individual and puts it all in the hands of government bureaucrats while taking otherwise productive people out of the workforce.

There is a much better way to help people and we need reforms that reward work. I proved it can be done and worked with Governor Paul LePage to enact them here in Maine.


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