AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage says he knew his plan to cut Medicaid would be tough to share with Mainers. But he says that decision was necessary.

In his weekly radio address, LePage blames Democrats for making Medicaid the answer for affordable health insurance. He says that solution was shortsighted, hurt people who need insurance coverage the most, forced all Mainers to pay for much costlier insurance premiums, and increased taxes.

LePage says Medicaid spending has increased by $1 billion in the last decade, straining the state budget. His solution would bring Maine more in line with other states.

Democrats say cutting common-sense safeguards won’t reduce or eliminate the need. Sen. Seth Goodall of Richmond says LePage’s proposed cuts will cost more because people will either go untreated or seek costly emergency room care.