After the legislature has spoken five times asking for the State to accept the federal funding to provide access to Medicaid health care coverage for approximately 70,000 Maine people, and the Governor has failed to listen each and every time, it is now time for the people of Maine to speak up. We have had enough of the nonsense. All Maine people deserve access to health care.
32 other states have expanded access to Medicaid health coverage up to 138% of the federal poverty level (or approximately $27,800 for a family of three) and have seen tremendous savings and economic growth. It has been projected that Maine would benefit from approximately $470 million next year if it expands coverage and could save approximately $43 million by accepting the funds. It is not too late to benefit from the federal funds that have already been set aside for the State of Maine. States that have accepted the federal funds have also seen tremendous growth in jobs and benefited from the other economic boosts that come with job growth.
Accepting the funds and expanding access can help cover our struggling veterans. It can help with our opioid epidemic to provide treatment to those who suffer from substance use disorders and who just need some help getting free from their addiction.
Accepting the funds and expanding access could help those with chronic conditions like cancer and diabetes manage their conditions and live longer, healthier, more productive lives.
Accepting the funds and expanding access can help our hospitals and health centers, many of which are having a hard time keeping their doors open and could really use the economic boost.
Accepting the funds and expanding access can ensure that children have parents who are healthy and reliably able to take care of them. Studies show that when women are covered before having children, they have a greater chance of having a healthy pregnancy and childbirth.
Accepting the funds and expanding access can help decrease the number of families that go into medical bankruptcy.
There is no good reason to continue to reject the federal funds. The time to act is now.