I find it totally ironic that Gov. Paul LePage had bariatric surgery. The Sun Journal (Jan. 12) quoted LePage, “It really is the right thing to do if health issues come in,” after his doctor warned him that he risked developing diabetes if he didn’t lose weight. The governor dodged questions about who paid for the surgery — himself or LePage’s state health insurance plan (for which Maine taxpayers pay).

This is the man who denied 70,000 Mainers access to health care coverage by refusing to expand MaineCare, which would have been paid 100 percent by the federal government for the first year and then at 90 percent for at least three years afterward.

According to Cover Maine Now, if Maine had accepted the federal health care funding, 3,800 people in Oxford County would have been eligible for health insurance, including 1,386 people in Oxford County who lost Medicaid coverage in 2013 because of previously enacted cuts to MaineCare. If Maine accepted the federal funds, by 2016, an additional $20 million would be spent annually in Oxford County hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other health care settings.

Having worked for 30 years in three Maine hospitals and 13 years for the American Heart Association, I have seen countless people come to hospital emergency rooms who had no other options for medical care, which might have been prevented if they had access to diabetes or cardiac diagnosis and prevention.

In my mind, it is unconscionable that Gov. LePage has had such disdain for the health of Maine people.

Dennise Whitley, Norway


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