Letter: Maine residents, hospitals need Medicaid expansion

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LD 633 would significantly increase the ability for low-income uninsured Maine citizens to access life-saving health care through Medicaid expansion. However, there is still resistance to enact this bill.

As a social work intern at Maine Medical Center, I have witnessed an inundation of patients who are uninsured and seeking to receive treatment at the hospital. Many of these patients are in critical condition since they delayed receiving preventative care due to high out-of-pocket costs they could not afford. It is absolutely disheartening to know that if these patients had access to preventative treatment, their health would not have to decline to a life-threatening point where care is more costly.

Maine law requires hospitals to absorb the treatment costs of uninsured patients. If the hospital keeps absorbing the costs of many uninsured patients, this institution may be vulnerable to financial setbacks, and this could result in layoffs to hardworking providers and limits on granting free care, which would mean fewer services to uninsured citizens.

Medicaid expansion would reduce free care in hospitals, and allow 70,000 Maine citizens to gain coverage and restore their ability to receive necessary, life sustaining treatment. This bill preserves the notion that health is a human right and should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their socioeconomic status.

I encourage Maine citizens to support LD 633 and reach out to legislators and elected officials to vote in favor of this bill that could impact the lives and well-being of so many vulnerable citizens.

Luzzei Tsuji