Mainers for Health Care, the coalition that is supporting a “Yes” vote on Question 2, launched the campaign to expand health care to 70,000 Mainers at events in Bangor and Lewiston today.
“Question 2 will expand access to health care to 70,000 Mainers. It will help our hospitals, particularly in rural areas, and it will make our state’s economy stronger by creating more than 3,000 jobs,” said Robyn Merrill, the co-chair of Mainers for Health Care.
Health care providers, people who would be impacted by Question 2 and advocates spoke at the events in Bangor and Lewiston.
Adam Foley, who would be covered by Medicaid under the expansion, spoke at the Bangor event and described life without dependable health care.
“Right now, I have a tooth infection. At least, I think I do. I can’t know for sure because, like thousands of other Mainers, Google and gossip serve as my primary care physicians. I spend many days in pain, just hoping things don’t get worse,” Foley said.
In Lewiston, Heather Everly told the story of her diagnosis with fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that can cause pain and fatigue.
“To the eye, I look healthy,” Everly said. “Invisible, there is no blood test to diagnose this disease. … If not for Medicaid, I would not have learned what was happening to me and I could not have afforded the insurance to cover it.”
Everly described the pain, dislocation and anguish of her illness. “Due to my access to Medicaid, I made it through.”
Also in Lewiston, Dr. Elizabeth Rothe, who works at Central Maine Medical Center, told the stories of her patients who suffer without access to health care and who would be helped by the expansion of Medicaid.
“Jim,” who works full time but still can’t afford health care, has high blood pressure and needs to see a doctor regularly. But he doesn’t have the money.
“This puts him at a very, very high risk of having a heart attack or stroke. He’s almost literally a ticking time bomb,” Rothe said. “Jim is one step away from a health care disaster and financial ruin because of his lack of health insurance.”
A “Yes” vote on Question 2 will expand access to Medicaid in Maine, providing health insurance coverage to 70,000 Mainers, including working moms, older Mainers, people with disabilities, small business owners and veterans.