By Ramona du Houx
Representatives from a number of prominent health care organizers gathered in October in Portland to endorse a “Yes” vote on Question 2 and to advocate for expanding access to health care coverage for their patients.
The vote is a matter of life and death for too many people.
“Covering every Mainer with adequate health care coverage is critical to Maine’s future,” said Dr. Charles Pattavina, an emergency physician at St. Joseph Hospital in Bangor and the Maine Medical Association’s president. “With federal matching funds available under the Affordable Care Act, this is a good deal for Maine. It’s the right thing to do for the health of our patients, and it will be an important financial boost for Maine hospitals.
Question 2 would expand Medicaid to more than 70,000 Mainers, create new jobs and help to strengthen hospitals in the state. It would also bring more than $500 million a year in new dollars to the state.
“Increasing the number of Mainers with health insurance by expanding Medicaid would improve quality of life, increase workplace productivity and save lives,” said Sam Zager of the Maine Academy of Family Physicians and Maine Providers Standing Up for Healthcare. “We have a choice to make on Nov. 7 about what sort of society we want. … I urge all Mainers to vote ‘Yes’ on Question 2.”
According to Dr. Renee Fay-LeBlanc, Medicaid expansion would provide health care coverage for 1,700 patients at Greater Portland Health, the clinic where she practices.
(Gov. John Baldacci saved Maine lives by introducing Dirigo Health which expanded coverage to more Mainers than ever before but LePage has dismantled the program even though it was a model for the Affordable Health Care Act - photo by Ramona du Houx.)
Bryan Wyatt, speaking for the Maine Primary Care Association, said: “Maine’s failure to expand Medicaid has created a crisis for many of the clinics in the state, putting at risk our ability to serve patients and communities," said Bryan Wyatt, speaking for the Maine Primary Care Association. "A ‘Yes’ vote on Question 2 will help to ensure that we can continue to make health care available around the state and provide access to quality care for the people who need it.”
Endorsing organizations at the event included the Maine Medical Association, the Maine Primary Care Association, the Maine Chapter of the American College of Physicians, the Maine Academy of Family Physicians and Maine Providers Standing Up for Healthcare. The organizations join the Maine Hospital Association, which endorsed Question 2 on Sept. 29, 2017.
For more information about the “Yes” on 2 campaign, visit: http://mainersforhealthcare.org