Last year, I stood behind a man dropping off a prescription at the pharmacy. He asked how much his script would cost. The pharmacist said that, with Medicaid, it would be either nothing or $3. The man said he had to know if he needed to bring in $3 when he came back after work to pick up his script.
When was the last time most of us had to worry about $3?
This man is an example of the working poor who will be driven further into poverty by Gov. Paul LePage’s decision not to accept federal funding for Medicaid. Federal Medicaid funding means 70,000 uninsured Maine citizens will have health insurance, cost Maine 10 percent of actual costs and save the state more than $700 million.
As family physician Sen. Geoff Gratwick, D-Bangor, said, “Building a strong economy and a strong middle class means making sure people have the health care they need, when they need it, at an affordable cost. Accepting federal funds to increase health coverage will strengthen Maine’s economy and provide health coverage to thousands of hard-working Mainers.”
Last year, the bill LePage vetoed would have provided good health care at 10 percent of actual costs. Unfortunately, the veto override failed by three votes. This year, we can make sure that our hard-working neighbors have health care. Without it, many will fall further into poverty and face the possibility of losing their health, their housing and their jobs all because of a lack of medical funding.
Maine people deserve better.
I urge people who want to strengthen Maine’s economy and provide health coverage to thousands of hard-working Mainers to call their state senator and representative to let them know. Remember, this bill was defeated last year by just three votes. This year we can do better.