Recently in New Hampshire a special panel voted to recommend that the Legislature meet in a special session this fall to vote to accept millions in federal health care funds beginning Jan. 1, 2014. The funding would bring health care access to tens of thousands of people and support new jobs at their hospitals. The panel has achieved a critical bipartisan agreement that should pave the way for a compromise bill in the Legislature.

As a pediatrician caring for children just across the border, it is my greatest wish that Maine join with New Hampshire, and the rest of New England, in reaching a similar agreement that will bring nearly $1 billion in federal health care funds to Maine in the next three years alone. The health and well-being of nearly 70,000 Mainers depends on that decision, including 25,000 Mainers who will lose their access to MaineCare in January without those funds.

Accepting those funds will mean that more people will be able to see their doctor for preventive treatments, such as shots and screenings for serious chronic ailments. They won’t have to wait until they are seriously ill to visit the emergency room, and Mainers won’t have to bear the costs of their delayed care.

New Hampshire and the rest of New England recognize that this is smart, compassionate policy. It is Maine’s turn to do the same.

Lisa Ryan, Naples

Maine Medical Association president-elect

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