This is in response to the guest columns by Heidi Brooks and Rich Livingston (Sept. 29).
It is clear the Democrats will use any trick in the book to make people believe that the expansion of Medicaid services is wonderful. Half-truths and twisted logic repeated often enough do not suddenly become facts. Twenty-five years working in the health care industry has taught me otherwise.
Let's be honest — no one dies because they don’t have health insurance. Not receiving health care can lead to a greater chance of illness, disease and premature death, but everyone makes their own decision on what health care they need.
We are not talking about Maine's poorest, as they are already covered. This change simply alters who pays the bill. Health care is a right, but insurance is not.
While the federal government will pay 100 percent of the health care costs associated with Medicaid during the first three years, they do not cover administrative costs, which are estimated at be an additional $10 million over three years. That is the same federal agency that promised almost 70 percent reimbursement just 10 years ago, now reduced to 62 percent.
And other states are allowed to get 100 percent reimbursement for new income groups that Maine has covered for years, getting 62 percent for the same services. Gov. Paul LePage requested that issue be addressed but was met with silence.
There is the claim that “If we don’t spend it, someone else will.” Not exactly, unless those who would have been covered by expansion suddenly move to those other states and, if not, no additional money is required of anyone.
The other misleading argument is that expansion will create jobs. Really?
How can people say it will create jobs by adding insured lives while also saying it will allow people who already have coverage to get a less expensive option? The number of people who do not have any insurance multiplied by the number of services they would require does not even come close to the jobs figures being quoted.
Lastly, Democrats claim the Medicaid expansion would save money. They claim there will be less charitable care, all while stating it is a cheaper health insurance option and/or people are not getting the care they need. Which is it? If people have coverage or they don’t get services, how much charity care is provided that would no longer be needed?
There are currently almost 3,000 disabled people in Maine without health insurance and the Democrats in Augusta refuse to even consider coverage for them, making them second-class citizens. Let's make them the first priority and move forward cautiously in a fiscally prudent manner.
Robert Reed, Lewiston