P. Cain: Working together to make MaineCare work

I read with interest the Nov. 24 column by Rep. Jeff Timberlake outlining his opposition to the proposed expansion of Medicaid for the state of Maine.

The representative correctly points out that the expansion would provide medical coverage for 70,000 Mainers (many of whom are the working poor) and this would be paid 100 percent by federal tax dollars for the first three years and then the state of Maine is to pay
10 percent.

We are told this is a bad deal for us, in part, because the newly covered population would have no co- pays and we could not exit the system if we felt it was not working.

It should be pointed out that the last proposal put forth in the last Legislature to reform MaineCare included, for the first time ever, co- pays which would have encouraged responsible use and also had the ability to exit the program in three years if the Legislature decided the program was not working or that funds would not be available.

Despite this, many Republicans were not convinced and the Legislature could not muster enough votes to override Gov. LePage’s veto.

I offer the following points to consider.

We will be paying taxes into the Medicaid system and refusing the benefits. How is that a good deal? The uncovered population will still continue to receive care at the hospitals where it is the most expensive, the hospitals will not be reimbursed for this and the costs will be passed on to private insurance holders.

The increase in state expense to administrate this expansion will be more than offset by the creation of health care jobs and reducing the burden of health care costs to people and businesses. The Maine Center for Economic Policy estimates that this expansion will stimulate $350 million of economic activity and create 3,100 jobs for Mainers.

Rep. Timberlake states that we cannot trust the federal government to pay up despite the fact that in the entire 45-plus history of Medicaid the government has never defaulted.

Some in the state government seem more interested in seeing President Obama fail than to help provide medical coverage for Mainers and payments to our physicians and hospitals.

We would do better if they would accept that the Affordable Care Act is the law and work to improve it where it needs it.

Paul Cain, MD, Oxford

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Comments

FRANK EARLEY's picture

I have never been turned down by any doctors.........

I have never been turned away by a doctor who doesn't take Medicare. That said, lets say the whole ACA is flawed beyond repair( which it is far from), and there's no hope left for it.
What is the alternative? What do we do instead? Do we start from scratch, do we just scrap the whole idea? Are we just going to leave those millions of people across the country with out health insurance?
I'm sorry, as far as I'm concerned scrapping the ACA isn't an option. We need to make affordable health care available to everyone. We have the perfect opportunity to put a program in place. We have a program in place that will work given a little time and a lot of work. It will just take a lot longer to materialize due to all the obstruction from the Republicans. They offer no solution, they only care about money and politics. If they would only start to embrace the idea and work to help implement the program, it will work as planned.
It's time they quit playing politics and start helping the people who put them in office. Allow the elected President do the job he was hired to do and stop trying to topple him at every turn. The scarey part in all this is, what goes around, comes around. So this won't be over just yet.......................

MARK GRAVE's picture

Mr. Cain, How many doctors do

Mr. Cain,
How many doctors do you know who stopped taking new Medicare patients due to decreasing Medicare reimbursements?

Unless you are only concerned with your self-interest, I would think someone with your level of education in the sciences; you would want to understand more fully what you are saying.

1. Where do you think these Federal dollars come from?
2. Can the Federal Government continue to borrow money in perpetuity?
3. The political makeup of congress and the Whitehouse frequently.
4. The current level Medicaid and Medicare spending is sustainable.
5. Reimbursement rates will continue to have toward pressure.

I’m going to go out on a very short limb and say that you and others who want Medicaid expansion are begin self-centered and selfish. You fall into one of two camps. You greed for Federal dollars, or you greed for free medical care.

All of you people who support Medicaid expansion in what camp did you pitch your tent.

MARK GRAVE's picture

Correction:

4. The current level Medicaid and Medicare spending is not sustainable.

Jonathan McKane's picture

Left-wing logic

"The increase in state expense to administrate this expansion will be more than offset by the creation of health care jobs"

Now that is just plain silly.

"in the entire 45-plus history of Medicaid the government has never defaulted."

No, they just cut the reimbursement rates.

"The Maine Center for Economic Policy estimates"

Nuff said. The radical left using the radical left as a source. Sorry, Doc. but "your" letter doesn't pass the straight face test.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

You are absolutely correct.......

If it was not for Republican Radicals pushing to dethrone Obama, and people like Paul LePage figuring he could get a better deal , which turns out to be nothing at all. Thousands of Mainers will remain uninsured.
To the Republicans, this is all about politics. They have no concern about health care for themselves, so why bother helping the working poor. I am so sick of seeing the likes of John Beahner and friends on the television condemning the ACA, their only interest is political, and American lives are at risk. They offer no alternative other than expensive hospitalization, which we all will end up paying for in the end. We need to hold our elected officials accountable, even though they could care less for the little guy.......................

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