House Democratic Office
For Immediate Release
Nov. 15, 2013
Contact: Ann Kim 287-1488, cell: 233-1838
REP.LONGSTAFF: 3,000 MAINE VETS WOULD BENEFIT FROM HEALTH CARE EXPANSION
Governor LePage should accept the federal governmentís offer for the good of Maine people
has a real opportunity to care for the veterans in our state.
speak there are about 3,000 Maine veterans who could gain the security of
better health care coverage, but to make that happen we need to accept the
federal health care dollars available to us under the Affordable Care Act.
morning. Iím Representative Tom Longstaff of Waterville.
veteran of the Maine National Guard and the United States Marine Corps. I have
a son and grandson who are currently on active duty in our armed forces.
very concerned about the health and well-being of our fellow Mainers who have
served in the military. Iím not alone. I think itís a value that most Maine
of people think that all veterans have comprehensive health care through the
Department of Veterans Affairs. Thatís understandable because we all want to do
whatís right for our veterans.
the health care reality is much more complicated. A lot of things determine
whether a veteran is or is not eligible for VA health services. Factors such as
active duty status, income levels and whether a disability is related to the
veteranís service are all a part of the formula.
then, thereís a complex system to determine priority. And all of this before we
even get into the question of how easily a veteran can get from his or her home
to a VA facility.
nation, there are about 1.3 million uninsured veterans. A study by the Urban
Institute estimates that half of them would benefit from the health care
expansion included in the Affordable Care Act.
each state needs to take action to make it happen. This means that we must
accept the federal governmentís offer to expand health care.
last session, the state Legislature passed a bill to expand health care to
nearly 70,000 Mainers, including those 3,000 veterans.
federal government would pay 100 percent of those expansion costs for the first
three years and would gradually reduce that percentage to no less than 90
percent after that.
move would create 3,100 jobs and inject $256 million dollars into our economy.
Instead, Maine is losing out on $700,000 a day, or $500 a minute.
course, thereís the human cost of denying health care to Mainers.
care expansion is a good deal for Maine. And itís a deal worth fighting for.
Paul LePage vetoed this measure even with an amendment that would have
cancelled the arrangement if the federal government did not follow through as
promised. He seems determined to keep up his opposition.
Other Republican governors have
accepted the federal governmentís offer because itís good for their people. We
need Governor LePage to put aside politics for the sake of Maine people.
care expansion will help tens of thousands of Mainers. Many of them work hard
in low-paying jobs, like those in grocery stores and on construction sites and
they donít get health care benefits from their work.
have to worry that a serious illness or injury could mean financial disaster.
But it doesnít have to be that way.
people deserve to be able to see a doctor and get medical care when they need
to. It especially pains me that many men and women who have served to protect
our country do not have that security.
fulfill our solemn commitment to care for our veterans by providing the access
to the health care that they need and have earned.
Thank you for listening. Iím Representative Tom Longstaff of Waterville.
Ann Kim | Communications Director
Maine State House Majority Office
2 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0002
Phone: 207-287-1430 | Cell: 207-233-1838