Mainers Speak out for More Health Care-Not Less

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Mainers across the State have spoken out on the urgent need and moral imperative for health care:

Kathy Phelps from Winslow has worked all her life. Now, as an uninsured hairdresser with health care needs she says, “This initiative could save my life.”

Marvin Ellison, retired professor of Christian ethics, spoke about the moral imperative of taking action now when so much is at stake.

Dr. Jane Pringle, primary care physician for 36 years, reflected on her experience caring for patients who didn’t have health insurance when they were admitted to the hospital for problems like a heart attack or a stroke or an advanced cancer. “It was heartbreaking work. These patients were working in jobs that didn’t provide health insurance. Having that could have prevented their illness or their disability or their death.” She also reminded the audience that “every dollar invested in preventative care saves seven dollars of expense caring for an illness.”

Sherriff Joel Merry from Sagadahoc County, spoke in support of expanding access to coverage. He stated, “I personally support the expansion of Medicaid for the single purpose of providing access to services for the many in Maine who suffer from addiction and or mental health issues. The daily population of inmates in the state’s fifteen county jails: 60% have a substance abuse issue and 40% sufferfrom some degree of mental health problems. Jails have become de facto triage treatment centers.”

Sarah Dubay, Public Affairs Officer at Penobscot Community Health Care described how expansion of health coverage through MaineCare would help community health center sites better meet the health care needs of people living and working in the rural areas they serve while spending less money than other health care environments.  She said, “Keeping people healthy is proven to save money. Arecentstudyfoundthat healthcenters save Medicaid, on average, almost$2400(or24%) per year in total cost of care when compared to other providers by giving access to preventative and primary healthcare.”

To read all testimony from our Medicaid Expansion press conference, go to: