When Gov. Paul LePage speaks of putting "people before politics," apparently he's only talking about certain people, not all Maine citizens. LePage and Republican lawmakers are now ruminating on denying MaineCare to smokers so they won't be able to access respiratory therapy with taxpayer dollars as they continue to smoke.
So what happens to smokers who can't access care early through MaineCare? They will probably receive care in the emergency department when they are sicker.
The costs of providing the care at that point are higher, and if the smoker can't pay, costs will be shifted to the paying population or the hospitals as charity care, depriving hospitals of needed revenue.
Those who are ill don't disappear simply because you won't pay for them.
This is a closed system. We will all pay, one way or another, either through taxes or increased health insurance premiums. We're all in this together and, in the long run, we spend more by delaying care.
We can't fix our broken health insurance system in a piecemeal fashion. That fact seems to be lost on LePage. The Affordable Care Act is a first step in a long-overdue process of creating an equitable, efficient and effective health insurance and health care delivery system. Instead of throwing up roadblocks, Gov. LePage and the Legislature need to get on board with implementing the law.
Mary Ann Larson, New Gloucester