A bipartisan compromise plan to expand health care to 70,000 Mainers is now before the Legislature. It’s a Republican-sponsored plan that addresses concerns of expansion while providing uninsured Mainers with the security of having a family doctor.

Some opponents of health care expansion and the Affordable Care Act can’t see beyond their ideology. They don’t let facts get in the way of an argument as they try to pit one group of Mainers against another.

A recent letter from Rep. Deborah Sanderson, R-Chelsea, used such tactics, mistakenly suggesting that the defeat of health care expansion would help nursing homes.

Maine’s elderly are being used as pawns in this false argument. Republican opponents of expansion are quick to use nursing homes as a justification against health care expansion but have failed to put forward proposals to reduce the waiting list or increase funding for nursing homes.

Some opponents won’t engage with us on the merits of health care expansion because they know they can’t win on them. That’s why we’re seeing arguments like the one in Sanderson’s letter.

The benefits of health care expansion are clear: savings, job creation and better health for tens of thousands of low-income Mainers, including 2,700 veterans.

We know that accepting the federal government’s offer will save Maine $690 million over the next 10 years, savings that could help the state in other areas such as providing nursing homes with long overdue rate increases. We know it will create 4,400 jobs. And, most of all, we know it will provide life-changing care to Mainers.

Rep. Linda SanbornD-Gorham

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