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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Maine health care providers standing behind affordable coverage

A long and growing list of health care providers are going public with our support for the coverage provided to our patients through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare.  We support public health policy initiatives to expand access to health care for everyone.

In spite of repeated and expensive efforts by Republicans in Congress to repeal this insurance coverage, the beneficiaries continue to enroll regardless of how many obstructions have been thrust in the way of access to the insurance.  

Nevertheless, like ghouls consumed in a cauldron of "repeal mania", the Congress continues to work towards repeal of the Affordable Care Act as well as privatization of Medicare and Medicaid. These regressive harmful health care initiatives are obstructing access to quality care, denying providers compensation but being debated without the consent of benefices who pay for the coverage. In Maine, a coalition of Maine Providers Sanding Up for Healthcare published an open letter to Senator Susan Collins and MaineWriter was among the signers.
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Here is the response from our coalition leaders:
To all the signers of the ACA letter to Senator Collins

(Maine Providers Standing up for Healthcare)
Thank you so much, all of you, who signed on to the ad/message to Senator Collins. We got a lot of acknowledgement and coverage for our stand. We have to hope that the momentum toward quick repeal is slowing as folks realize how difficult developing a replacement for the ACA would be.

Thank you, too, for those who were able to contribute to the cost of the ads. We had impressive half page ads in the papers in Portland, Augusta, Waterville and Bangor. All together that cost slightly over $7000. With donations that came in Friday, we have recouped all of that and gone just a little over. So those of you who have not sent in donations, save it for the next issue.

The question is what next??? (We are asking...) but don’t know how to create a platform/ Blog/list serve that we could use to communicate and discuss if and when and how to use our voices again to influence decisions made that affect our patients. If one of you can do this, it would be great.

Upcoming challenges to our patients’ health include:- ACA repeal -no coverage for preexisting conditions, throwing 32 million people off individual policies purchased on exchanges, etc.

- Medicaid block grants and other Medicaid cuts, including CHIP

- Women’s health threats – loss of parity in insurance (no coverage for contraception or maternity care), unfunding of Title X and elimination of all family planning programs, eliminating Medicaid payments to providers who also perform abortions (Maine Family Planning and Planned Parenthood), and, of course, reversal of Roe v Wade
- Decreased coverage for Behavioral Health and Addiction

- Very high deductible plans which will essentially preclude the poor from coverage for chemotherapy, chronic care, etc.

- The threat of turning Medicare into a voucher system. With Price (in the dead of night) approved for HHS Secretary, we’re in for a real fight!
- And more!  (Let's include the privatization proposed for Veterans Health Care!)

Maine Writer is proud to be among this esteemed health care coalition and in support of their worthy causes to protect health care for all.

So let’s keep the conversation going. There’s so much to do. And, in the words of Barack Obama (remember when we wanted to quote a President?) “…we can afford neither complacency nor despair”.  (From Connie and Peter) Thank You!

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