Stay focused on bipartisan health care solutions

Dear Editor:

The U.S. Senate has finally begun a bipartisan process to develop a real solution to fixing our nation’s health care system, thanks in part to the efforts of Maine’s own Sen. Collins. But, while this good work is happening, there’s a new effort by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy to once again force a vote on a partisan bill that we know could be bad for people affected by cancer.

If passed, it could lead to Americans losing coverage for cancer prevention and treatment, drastically increase their out-of-pocket costs and possibly cancel their health insurance altogether. It could even return us to a time when cancer patients and survivors are denied access to coverage just because they survived cancer or are going through treatment.

Please join me in thanking Sen. Collins for her efforts thus far on behalf of Mainers — and all Americans — who need affordable, accessible health care, and urge her to reject these potentially harmful proposals, oppose the Graham-Cassidy bill and continue focusing on practical, bipartisan efforts to strengthen health care coverage.

I would also like to thank Sen. Angus King for his efforts traveling all over the state talking with citizens, community leaders, health care providers, rural health centers and hospitals. I had the pleasure of talking with Sen. King at Eastport Health Care in July, at a community health insurance information gathering circle. He is listening to those who are “the boots on the ground” and understands both the public health and financial health implications of what these proposed bills thus far would mean for individuals, as well as community hospitals and health centers.

With one in three Americans having a cancer diagnosis in his or her lifetime, one can see how health insurance and health care is an important issue, one that should be well vetted, and with challenges solved with bipartisan support.

Barbara Vittum

Executive Director, Cancer Support Center of Maine

Volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network


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