The LePage administration has stated that the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare will cost the state millions of dollars, yet I hear little about the costs of refusing the millions of dollars from the federal government that pay for the expansion.

Each of us fortunate enough to have insurance pays an estimated $1,000 per year to compensate for those without insurance. Costs don’t magically disappear simply because someone can’t pay. They get passed on to those who can pay.

The federal dollars that will pay for the expansion are raised through federal general revenue collection — taxes paid by residents in all states —whether or not they participate in the program.

A study released last month by the Commonwealth Fund states, “The Medicaid expansion presents an opportunity for states to bring in new federal dollars, in addition to providing critical health coverage for their low income residents … no state that declines to expand the program is going to be fiscally better off because of it. Their tax dollars will be used to support a program from which nobody in their state will benefit.”

According to that study, Maine stands to lose $300 million.

Isn’t this really an investment in keeping Maine’s workforce healthy and ensuring a robust future economy in Maine?

Finally, as those without Medicaid coverage seek care, hospitals will incur more costs for “uncompensated care,” and the tab for that will be paid in part by state and local governments.

That’s us.

Mary Ann Larson, New Gloucester


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