Maine Legislature

Office of the Speaker

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EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE ON APRIL 6

April 5, 2013

Contact: Jodi Quintero [Eves] 841.6279

 

Speaker Eves: Maine Canít Miss an Opportunity to Accept Federal Health Care Dollars for More families

 

Marie from Bangor has a part-time job that doesnít provide health insurance. She has a serious heart condition that doesnít allow her to work full time.  Without health insurance for her or her family, she is forced to choose between putting gas in her car or paying her medical and utility bills. Marie shared her story with lawmakers last week in Augusta. Unfortunately, she is not alone.

 

Good morning. This is Maine Speaker Mark Eves of North Berwick.

 

The story I just told you is a reality for tens of thousands of Mainers who are unable to afford health insurance. A working father who canít afford to pay for his heart medicine; an older Mainer struggling to pay for prescriptions or food; a veteran who canít afford his insulin.

 

Many of you listening know how frightening it is to be sick and unable to afford go to the doctor.  Or to have a loved one in that situation.

 

Maine has an opportunity to change that. We can change the lives of nearly 70,000 people in our state by accepting federal health care dollars under the Affordable Care Act.  

 

The federal government has offered to fully pay for health care for tens of thousands of Maine people - like Marie - for three years. Maine should take the funds; itís a bargain.

 

So why should we do it? More Mainers will be able to see a doctor. More Mainers will be able to pay for their medicine. More Mainers will be able to go to work.

 

When the three years are up, the state will have to gradually chip in for no more than 10 percent of the total cost.

 

Plus, the state of Maine can opt out anytime.

 

Itís a deal we canít pass up.

 

In exchange for taking the money, we save more than half a billion dollars over the course of a decade. In exchange for taking the money, we generate $350 million in economic activity. In exchange for taking the money, we create 3,100 jobs.

 

We should take the money because it will lower health care costs for all Maine people.  

 

When more people have access to a doctor, we have healthier people and health care costs go down for everyone.

 

Maine businesses say it is good deal. Maine doctors say it will lead to healthier people.  Maine hospitals say it will lower their costs.  

 

Some opponents of accepting the health care dollars have questioned whether the federal government will keep its promise to foot the bill. The truth is the federal government hasnít missed a Medicaid payment in five decades. Now, thatís a good credit history.

 

We should seize the opportunity now. If we donít, Maine will lose out.

 

Join me in urging Governor LePage and Republican legislators to support this bargain for Maine people.

 

Thank you for listening, Iím House Speaker Mark Eves of North Berwick.