2013-12-06 / Front Page

Deadline nears to get ACA insurance

By Sean P. Milligan
Contributing Writer

SOUTH PORTLAND – State officials from the area invite their constituents to a health care forum at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11 at South Portland City Hall in hopes the forum will help educate people about the Affordable Care Act.

Leadership from the Maine Democratic Party has urged their representatives to hold community forums to help educate people they represent about the controversial bill.

“Obamacare,” as it is most commonly known, has been met with confusion and turmoil nationwide. Healthcare. gov, the website citizens log onto to select their new health care plans, has faced competence issues as well as security scares.

Focused on South Portland and Cape Elizabeth residents, but open to the public, the goal of this forum is to help people navigate a new, confusing piece of legislature.

“If you think Medicare, Social Security, (how) all of these major shifts in our public policy in our country have started out,” said Rep. Terry Morrison (D-South Portland). “We need to be mindful that all of these major pendulum shifts take time and they aren’t easy, but someone will be served by this.”

After Republicans forced a government shutdown over the issue of universal health care, it was clear that party lines have been drawn on the issue. Morrison believes that despite all of the good the bill will do for people, the harsh feelings stem from deep-rooted party value systems.

“The Democratic Party has always valued that everyone deserves health care,” Morrison said. “We’ve always felt that health care is a right, not a privilege, and there are other parties out there who don’t feel that way. It’s basically about values, about party values, in my opinion.”

Officials plan to have guest speakers at the forum from organizations within the health care field to give their expert opinions and analysis, as well as policy experts from the offices of Sen. Chellie Pingree or Sen. Angus King.

After being urged by leadership, other community forums have been held across the state. This will be the first public forum in southern Maine since August, before the government shutdown caused by the passing of the Affordable Care Act.

Officials are eager to share information about Obamacare and help their constituents through a confusing time. However, they emphasize that they are not experts, only assistants in the process.

“We want to make it really clear that while there are some Maine legislators that are pretty knowledgeable on the Affordable Care Act, we as a group see ourselves not as the experts, but we see ourselves as the bridge as helping local citizens understand and navigate the system. We just want to make sure they understand the whole Affordable Care Act,” said Rep. Kim Mohagan-Derrig (D-Cape Elizabeth).

State representatives want to remind South Portland and Cape Elizabeth residents that the deadline for health care sign up has been extended to Monday, Dec. 23. Citizens must be enlisted with a health care provider by this date in order to receive coverage by Jan. 1.

Return to top