Make Medicaid expansion a priority

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To the Editor;
In November of 2017, 59 percent of Maine voters approved Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. We understood that our vote would extend health care coverage to tens of thousands of low-income Mainers.

In the past, the Maine Legislature passed Medicaid expansion bills five separate times, only to have each vetoed by the governor. The current administration opposes Medicaid expansion, in part, because it sees it in negative terms, as a disincentive to finding a job. Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon answers that argument by pointing out that some 70 percent of those people who are eligible are already working, but at such low wages that they can’t afford health insurance.

In the opinion of a majority of Mainers, the health care of every resident of Maine is a priority and an issue of public concern. Other states feel the same. Maine is the 32nd state to expand Medicaid. It’s interesting that Maine is the first state to do so by referendum.

Don’t let anyone threaten Mainers’ right to initiate referenda. In this case, legislators should be thankful to the people of Maine for having their backs on Medicaid expansion. The Legislature must prioritize allocating the funds for implementation of Medicaid expansion.

Carole Boothroyd

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