In the debate about Medicaid expansion, you will hear ambiguous terminology and arguments from people who think we are not smart enough to see through them, but simple logic provides what need to know.

First argument: It will saddle Maine taxpayers with massive additional costs.

We are saddled now with private insurance adding 20 percent to the cost of health care, versus 2 percent by Medicaid, copays, high deductibles, and unaffordable premiums if not enrolled in Obamacare. Employers can’t pay higher wages because of the premiums they pay.

This is a federal program funding 90 percent of the cost. The real estimates are this: It would cost the state government $93 million through 2019 (1.2 percent of the budget) but bring in $1.2 billion in federal dollars. Yes, this will raise your income taxes, but would you rather pay $200 in health care costs or $100 in taxes?

The larger Medicare/Medicaid will have more power to negotiate and seek lower costs. Lower cost is why the medical and insurance industies pay the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, the Maine Heritage Policy Center, and others to defeat single-payer health care. Do you prefer depending on the job you hate for health care, or to be independent of your employer?

Second: It will be more difficult for the state to take care of the hundreds of cognitively and physically disabled Mainers who have been languishing on waiting lists.

Really? Austerity loving Gov. Paul LePage and friends have made the wait longer. Simple logic tells you that health care for all includes these unfortunate people, as opposed to health care rationed according to wealth.

Third: It will hurt the economy.

What? Adding 4,000 jobs and saving our rural hospitals will hurt our economy?

Listen not to the words of opponents of expansion, and anything good for the rest of us, but to simple logic.

Brad Sherwood


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