To the Editor:

Rural Mainers deserve access to top-notch health coverage, and no one should have to sacrifice affordability, quality or ease of access when it comes to their health care. Some of the proposals in Congress to create a new government-controlled health insurance system called the public option could have a detrimental effect on care, especially in western Maine.

The pandemic has made the importance of high-quality health care clear. But with the public option, Members of Congress in Washington risk not only making care more costly than it already is, but also making it more difficult to see providers.

Recent studies warn that the public option could also raise taxes on American families by several thousand dollars every year, with the long-term costs potentially being even higher and leading to increased debt. There are too many Maine families that already struggle to make ends meet, and they do not need Washington to increase their burdens. A one-size-fits-all option is not the answer.

For residents of rural Maine towns, the proposed public option system could be devastating for local care providers and Maine hospitals, which are already operating with shoestring budgets. Revenue losses under the public option could mean greater difficulties for Mainers in seeing their doctors, waiting longer, having to drive longer distances, as losses lead to hospital and healthcare facility closures.

All Mainers – especially those of us in Maine’s rural counties – deserve better access to quality, affordable care. The public option is not the answer.

Rep. Fran Head

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