The Maine Legislature has the opportunity in the next few days to pass Medicaid expansion. L.D. 633, “An Act To Improve the Health of Maine Citizens and the Economy of Maine by Providing Affordable Market-based Coverage Options to Low-income Uninsured Citizens,” is a good deal for Maine.

Medicaid expansion is cost-effective. More than $400 million in new federal funds in the first year — and more than $2 billion in five years — will help provide coverage to 70,000 low-income uninsured people who lack coverage today.

As Sen. Tom Saviello, R-Wilton, and supporters of L.D. 633 have so eloquently expressed, insurance coverage for these Mainers will help people get care more appropriately and at less cost. Medicaid coverage will also provide critical assistance to those with substance addiction, which impacts all our communities in Maine, large and small.

As a hospital administrator and a physician, I know all-too-well the direct human cost of not having health insurance. People wait too long to see their health provider, resulting in less positive outcomes for themselves, and higher costs for everyone. The Medicaid expansion bill before the Legislature is an important opportunity that we should not let slip by for another year.

The bill has passed the Senate and is expected to pass the House, but will likely face a veto from Gov. Paul LePage. I urge the Legislature to support this important initiative and override the veto.

Barbara Crowley, M.D.,

Executive vice president,

MaineGeneral Health