Letter to the Editor: MaineCare expansion would help hospitals



The Cover Maine Now! coalition, a group of nearly 100 organizations, health care facilities, and businesses across Maine, would like to sincerely thank MDI Hospital CEO Art Blank for his vocal support of new federal funding for MaineCare.

To the Editor:

The Cover Maine Now! coalition, a group of nearly 100 organizations, health care facilities, and businesses across Maine, would like to sincerely thank MDI Hospital CEO Art Blank for his vocal support of new federal funding for MaineCare.

As Mr. Blank pointed out, nearly $300 million in federal funds are available for Maine annually between 2014 and 2016 to provide full funding for health coverage for 69,500 Mainers who cannot otherwise afford it. These funds benefit the uninsured, their care providers, and their communities. For example, Hancock County would see approximately $17 million in direct investments in its hospitals, doctors offices, and other care settings annually by 2016. The federal investment would also generate $23 million each year in economic activity for the county by 2016.

Those who feel that we cannot afford to pay for this new care once the federal match changes from 100% to 90% (a gradual transition that will be made between 2016 and 2020) may not be considering the high cost of uncompensated care for our community hospitals. Even though there isn’t a line in the state’s budget for the tens of thousands of uninsured in Maine (including nearly 7,000 people in Hancock County), our society still pays for their care–when they visit an emergency room, the unpaid bills are passed on to the hospital and eventually to the state or the privately insured. Bar Harbor had $4 million in such costs last year. Accepting federal funds will defray those costs for all Mainers, while supporting our hospitals, doctors, and other health care providers.

Anyone who would like to know more about accepting federal funds can visit www.covermainenow.org.

Sincerely,

Alison Weiss, Cover Maine Now! Coalition Manager

Bangor

Fenceviewer Staff

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