P. Hoffman: MaineCare should be expanded

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The Affordable Care Act is working well for many Mainers, especially those whose health insurance premiums were high, or who had pre-existing medical conditions preventing them from being covered. However, there are a significant number of people and their families who have been blocked from having health coverage at all.

Gov. Paul LePage vetoed the expansion of MaineCare to low income working Mainers, whose employers do not offer health insurance. Republicans in the Legislature upheld that veto. Now some Mainers earn too much to be eligible for existing MaineCare, but not enough to qualify for the new subsidized premiums.

To cover all Mainers needing insurance, the ACA was designed to include the expansion of MaineCare, and should now be funding that expansion for 10 years. The tax dollars Mainers have already paid to assist their neighbors should be coming back to Maine, bringing down the cost of health care for all by spreading the cost and allowing more economical health care delivery.

Those dollars are being rejected month after month, while members of the community go without basic primary medical care: waiting until a medical condition becomes critical, requires more expensive care, and becomes a much greater risk to their long-term health and the stability and health of their family.

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That makes no sense. Legislators and the governor need to understand the wisdom, frugality and compassion of expanding MaineCare, so that all Mainers receive the medical care they need, when they need it most.

Peg Hoffman, Auburn

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