Advocating the right to quality, affordable health care for every person in Maine.
Consumer Assistance HelpLine


Dr. Mark Lupinetti Urges Expansion, Not Cuts to Medicaid


President Trump and the Republicans in Congress are looking at the American Health Care Act (AHCA) as a chance to radically overhaul Medicaid. The Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act would fundamentally overhaul Medicaid by shifting the program to a per capita cap system. This means states would receive a fixed amount of Medicaid funding per enrollee, as opposed to the open-ended federal support they receive currently. Cardiac Surgeon Mark Lupinetti is one Maine physician who is speaking out against these proposed slashes to Medicaid funding.

Dr. Lupinetti vividly remembers one patient who was transferred to his hospital from a smaller, rural facility after suffering a massive heart attack. The patient required immediate heart surgery, so Lupinetti did not have an opportunity to speak with him until the recovery period.

“I learned that the patient had been experiencing chest pains for two years. He knew that there was probably something wrong with his heart, but was waiting until he turned 65 to seek medical care, as he had just lost his job at the mill and with it his insurance. He had the heart attack just several months before his 65th birthday. He survived, but his heart will never be the same.  Patients like this are at risk for premature death,” explained Lupinetti. This patient’s story is a cautionary tale of what happens when Medicaid eligibility is restricted and Mainers go uninsured.

Although Medicaid is most commonly known as a health insurance program for low-income and needy people, more than 80% of Medicaid spending goes to care for children, the elderly and the disabled, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. If enacted, AHCA would strip over $800 billion from the program, leaving millions of vulnerable Americans at risk of losing coverage. It would also force states to pick up the tab for spending on our elderly, kids, and disabled Mainers.

Dr. Lupinetti is concerned that if the proposed cuts to Medicaid are enacted, smaller rural hospitals may have to close their doors. He explains that hospitals are hurt when patients do not have insurance, adding that only half of hospitals in Maine made a profit last year- the rest are in the red.  “This heart attack patient was stabilized in a rural hospital and may not have survived, if that hospital did not exist,” said Lupinetti.


One response to “Dr. Mark Lupinetti Urges Expansion, Not Cuts to Medicaid”

  1. My own mother is 91 and currently in assisted living because of dementia. She is spending down or in other words, spending to bankruptcy. She and my father have always paid their own way, and saved money for their retirement, but some things can not be predicted. She is physically healthy and will run out of money within a year. If the current proposals to cut Medicaid are approved, will my mother be able to get it when she is in need? It is a very genuine worry for many elderly and/or their famlies.

The work we do is made possible through the support of individuals like you.

IMPORTANT: If your 2017 health insurance plan was discontinued, you may qualify for an extension to sign up for a new plan until March 1, 2018.

The Open Enrollment period to get health insurance for 2018 ended on December 15, 2017. Open Enrollment is the time of year you can sign up for health insurance. If you don’t have any insurance, you might have to pay a fine when you file your taxes.

If you didn't sign up during Open Enrollment, you may be able to get a Special Enrollment Period to sign up now if you have a qualifying life event, like loosing other insurance, getting married or having a baby.

You can also apply for MaineCare anytime of year!

Check out our Guide to Maine Health Care or call our HelpLine at 1-800-965-7476 to learn more and find out what you can qualify for!

Get Covered

Find free help from a “navigator” or other local assister in Maine — a service of Search by city or zip code.

Workshops & Events

    There are currently no events listed for this category.