Two bills are advancing in the Maine Legislature, one dealing with the expansion of MaineCare and the second with the establishment of a single-payer system. The expansion of MaineCare is voluntary and the Legislature’s vote to implement that was vetoed by Gov. Paul LePage.

While I do understand the fiscal concerns involved, facts clearly show concerns are extremely short-sighted. Approximately 180 Mainers die yearly because they have no health insurance. About 1,800 file for bankruptcy because of medical expenses. All too many must chose between food, heat or medicine.

Having practiced here for more than 43 years, I know that. Like many of my compatriots, I have given free care and bought medicine for my patients, but Mainers are proud and do not want charity.

People seem to lack understanding and compassion for others, most of whom work long hours to survive and yet cannot afford health care. Those costs do not disappear but, as is often said, “the can is kicked down the road.” And that road guarantees the costs will be higher as those folks with advanced illnesses end up in the emergency room at greater cost. As they often cannot pay, hospital costs rise, insurance premiums increase and many end up disabled and lost to the work force.

Those wrongs can be corrected. I urge our representatives and senators to support the ideals of our Declaration of Independence — “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

None of those are possible without good health.

Stephen A. Sokol, M.D., DTMPH, Lewiston

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: