This year, our family lost a much-admired friend from our New Mainer community to a trauma-based illness. It is an example of the vulnerability of our neighbors who have come to Maine to find safety after years of war in their home countries.

The Maine Legislature has an opportunity this session to restore health insurance coverage to a small number of New Mainers who were denied MaineCare 10 years ago. That was an act of discrimination unworthy of our state — excluding 500 people, out of our population of over 1,000,000 Mainers, from access to direly-needed health care coverage.

LD 718 will again include these members of our community, who are living and working here and beginning again in Maine, as many of us have done before them. Our whole community will be stronger and healthier, which we know especially now is vital to everyone’s safety.

Many of those, whose health care coverage will be restored with this vital legislation, have been front-line workers through the pandemic, at greatest risk of coming ill with COVID-19.

LD 718 will return our MaineCare program to including all lower-income residents as it did 25 years ago, when the Legislature did the right thing with strong bipartisan support. It was the right and fair decision then, and it’s the right thing to do now.

I urge the Legislature to pass and fully fund LD 718.

Peg Hoffman, Lewiston

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