2013-05-24 / Letters

Federal funds mean health care

To the editor:

Right now the state of Maine has a great opportunity available that will allow more Mainers to receive access to health care. I strongly support accepting these federal funds that are currently available for Maine that will expand Medicaid coverage for low-income Mainers.

In these difficult economic times, many hard-working Mainers are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet and provide a safe and healthy environment for themselves and their families to live and prosper. However, some much-needed relief is in sight for approximately 69,500 Mainers as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

The Affordable Care Act has set aside federal dollars for Maine to provide Medicaid coverage to approximately 69,500 people who would be uninsured otherwise. Adults with incomes up to 138 percent FPL ($15,856/year for an individual; $26,951/ year for a family of three) would be covered, starting Jan. 1, 2014.

Full implementation of the ACA’s Medicaid option is a good deal for the state of Maine. The federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of covering newly eligible individuals in Maine for three years, through Dec. 31, 2016. After that, the federal contribution will be adjusted gradually until it reaches the permanent rate of 90 percent in 2020, far greater than the 64 cent rate it pays for current Medicaid members.

Most working low-income adults with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level can’t afford health insurance. They have little-to-no discretionary income and cannot afford the out-ofpocket expenses that people in health care exchanges will have to pay, even with available subsidies.

Since I first began my career in public service, I have believed that healthcare is a human right and not a privilege for only those that can afford it. Accepting these federal funds and providing healthcare for more people is not a partisan issue. There is already strong support from both sides of the aisle in Augusta, and many Republican governors and Republican-controlled state legislatures throughout the country have already signed on to accept these federal dollars aimed at expanding healthcare coverage for more working class citizens.

It is my continued pleasure to serve the citizens of District 122 in the Maine State House of Representatives, and I will continue to work hard to serve the needs of my constituents as well as those of all Mainers.

Terry Morrison
District 122 State Representative

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