It’s time for Maine to do the right thing for our economy and more importantly for our residents. We need to expand health care coverage for hardworking Mainers who are currently uninsured or underinsured. This is especially important for older adults, who are far more likely to be already living with at least one chronic condition. The state should not turn its back on these hardworking people.

Expanding health care coverage through Medicaid is not welfare. This isn’t about handouts. This is about making sure that our own families and friends have access to affordable health care when they are in a tough situation and cannot afford the coverage they need.

These dollars already have been set aside for Maine. We just have to say “yes.”

If the state leaves Maine people uninsured without access to primary and preventive care, this puts at risk their financial security for years to come. Many Mainers’ savings have been lost because their health care costs far outweigh those savings. When you’re older, even if you are able to work, it’s really hard to replenish that empty nest egg.

Expanding health coverage will provide access to both primary and preventive care. Medical screenings and treatment for chronic diseases will accessible. Think about it — if people have insurance they are far more likely to seek medical attention when they need it. Without insurance, they’ll delay that care and most likely get sicker.

No one in Maine should have to live like that.

Carol and Robert MacDougallAARP Maine volunteersAugusta