After meeting with impacted Mainers in Bangor today, Representative Mike Michaud urged the state of Maine to accept the Medicaid funding made available through the Affordable Care Act, which Michaud supported in Congress. The federal government will pay for the first three years of the Medicaid expansion under the current proposal. The state’s share of the cost would gradually increase after that until it reaches 10 percent in 2020, according to an article by the Associated Press.
If Gov. Paul LePage does not accept the offer, coverage for some families would end Jan. 1, 2013 putting lives at risk.
“This is an issue that directly impacts the health of Mainers and the health of our economy,” said Michaud. “The state should accept this federal funding that has been set aside for Maine so that we can further reduce the uninsured population. Doing so could help expand and maintain health care for over 69,000 Mainers and provide a boost to our state’s economy.”
A coalition of economic, veteran, small business, health care, labor, religious and public interest organizations in Maine have banded together to support the funding, including the Maine People’s Alliance, which hosted today’s meeting.
“The vast majority of people benefitting from the expansion are currently employed, but work in jobs that are low wage and do not provide health insurance,” said Michaud. “A diverse coalition is fighting for this funding because they know it will result in health insurance for thousands of Mainers, reduced health care costs, and economic opportunities critical to our state.”
A recent report released by the Maine Center for Economic Policy in conjunction with Maine Equal Justice Partners found that the Medicaid expansion could create approximately 3,100 jobs and promote more than $350 million in economic activity annually in Maine. The report also found that it would improve worker productivity, promote a more competitive business climate, and generate $16 million to $18 million in state and local revenue annually.
“Congressman Michaud, what is your plan to balance the federal budget, which already has a deficit of $17 trillion, and create a sustainable Medicaid program for our country?” Governor LePage asked in response to the Congressman’s comments.