In light of the pandemic, health and well-being are top priorities for Mainers, along with getting our economy back on track. But a newly proposed government-controlled health insurance system being debated in Washington threatens to both harm our health care system and hit Maine families with new costs they can’t afford.

The proposal is called Medicare-X, and research warns us that creating a one-size-fits-all health care system like this could increase costs and reduce our access to quality health care.

Recent analysis shows that not only could creating the public option increase taxes and grow the federal deficit, but it could also lead to the closure of hospitals — especially those serving our rural communities — by hitting these providers with unsustainable revenue losses. To state the obvious, the closure of hospitals would make it much more difficult for Mainers to get the care they need.

It is clear that Medicare-X is not a solution, and Mainers cannot afford to start our health care system from scratch. Instead, I urge Maine’s representatives in Congress to build and improve on the strengths of our health care system to provide Mainers and all Americans with greater affordability and choice in their health coverage and care.

Gary Hilliard

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