I am writing to talk about what will happen to a young man I am working with to overcome alcoholism, a man I met through my volunteer work in the jail.

He is one of Gov. Paul LePage’s noncategorical people, if that’s the term, who will lose medical benefits if the governor has his way. This man has a son, who is a dependent of the mother, so my friend can’t claim him. That boy adores his dad and needs him.

This man has an anxiety and panic disorder in addition to his alcoholism. The only way he can stay out of emergency rooms and detox centers is by having his prescribed medication, which he will lose if LePage’s plan succeeds.

If and when that happens, the man will have no choice except to use alcohol when one of the panic attacks occurs (that has happened before when he has had no medication). Then his physical allergy to alcohol will kick in, and, within a few weeks, he will be on the streets of Portland, homeless, drinking with no control, will be in and out of the emergency room at Mercy Hospital, and probably will die within months.

I use this man as an example. I know many others in the same situation. He is working hard at finding a job. Whatever job he gets probably will not have medical benefits.

So is this man unworthy of the government’s help? Or is the budget worth more than his and others’ lives? For the life of me, I can’t understand how LePage’s policy in this instance is moral or just. Or does he care at all, really?

I love Maine, but am ashamed right now to be a citizen here.

Bob Hargreaves


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