Doctors and Lawmakers Speak Out in Favor of Healthcare Coverage
A group of doctors and lawmakers spoke out in Augusta Wednesday, urging lawmakers and the governor to accept the promise of federal dollars to provide healthcare for uninsured Mainers.The group spoke in the Hall of Flags Wednesday morning.The group is endorsing a bill that’s co-sponsored by Bangor Democrat Geoff Gratwick that expands the Medicaid program in Maine under the Affordable Care Act.Under the plan an additional 70,000 Mainers would be covered.Governor LePage has not made up his mind yet whether he’ll support Medicaid expansion.He’s asked the federal government to pick up the entire cost for the next decade before he’ll agree to the expansion.Republican lawmakers are skeptical of the federal governement’s promise to pay for the expansion in full for the first three years. “These are lobstermen, these are mothers with small kids, a mother with three small kids,” Gratwick said. “These re-loggers. These are the heart and soul of Maine, and these are the people who are not getting insurance and are not getting appropriate healthcare.” “I think everybody is in favor of trying to expand opportunities for people to have access to healthcare in a fair reasonable way,” said Republican Reprentative Ken Fredette. “Republicans certainly support that. The question is can we do that in a financially responsible way.”The bill will have a public hearing before the Health and Human Services Committee in the coming weeks.