Letter: Public must demand MaineCare expansion

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I am writing about the bill in Augusta (LD 633) to accept federal health-care dollars set aside for Maine. Our tax dollars are waiting to provide health insurance (MaineCare) to thousands of our neighbors, and all we have to do is say yes, yet for three years, our Legislature has struggled to overturn Gov. Paul LePage’s veto.

This bill would help everyone in this state, no matter their income and employment status. Every family has an “if it weren’t for …” that keeps them afloat. But for many, a choice has to be made between health and essentials in a very tight budget. My family gets by on very little, and if I had to choose between groceries and going to the doctor for preventative care, I’d buy milk every time.

Without this MaineCare expansion, we’re living in a modern-day “your money or your life.” Heart disease is the No. 1 killer, cancer second, and catching issues early saves lives. For people with major health or substance-use issues, access to comprehensive care is non-negotiable.

In this country, we shouldn’t have to make a choice between health and financial stability when a simple solution is right at our fingertips. More insured citizens puts more money into Maine’s economy, over $400 million a year by conservative estimates. The expansion has led to significant savings in other states’ budgets. It’s a no-brainer to me, and I encourage all Mainers to learn about the bill and speak up.

Kate Kearns