Bill proposed to expand Medicaid to thousands of Mainers

8:03 PM, Apr 3, 2013   |    comments
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BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The issue of whether Medicaid should be expanded in Maine is heating up in Augusta. Wednesday morning the topic made it's way to Bangor.

Congressman Mike Michaud met with several members of the Maine People's Alliance, who expressed why they believe legislatures should approve a bill that would sign Maine up for an expansion of its Medicaid program under the federal Affordable Care Act. Sonja Sawyer had her Medicaid cut in half a few months ago.

"I can no longer get out and do what I used to do," said Sawyer. "My young 16-year-old son has taken over all household duties. He's taking care of me and that's not the way it should be."

She expressed her concerns about the state of health insurance to Congressman Michaud Wednesday. According to him, expanding medicaid isn't just an economic issue, but also a moral issue providing health care to nearly 70,000 Mainers.

"People who need healthcare will be able to get the healthcare they need and in some cases it could literally save their lives as well," said Michaud

Not everyone agrees though. Opponents like Director of the Center for Health Reform Initiatives, Joel Allumbaugh, say that accepting additional funding at the federal level now would have negative effects down the road.

"They don't' pay 100% forever, so I'm very worried about the portions that the state will be responsible for once those higher level matching funds go away," said Allumbaugh

According to Michaud, expanding Medicaid will save Maine $570 million over a 10 year period.

The Health and Human Services Committee will host a work session on the bill to expand medicaid on April 9th.


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