To the Editor:
Once again during the last few weeks, Mainers held their breath while the Senate debated health care legislation that would affect hundreds of thousands of us. The bill in question, known simply as “Graham-Cassidy” after the two senators who drafted it, was not made public until the 11th hour and, it turns out, was deeply flawed.
Mainers deserve health care coverage that is affordable and accessible. This bill, like its predecessors introduced over the summer, was not crafted with this in mind. In fact, this bill would have cut some of the services and supports many of us – particularly those of us who are older – rely upon every day.
For one thing, Graham-Cassidy proposed huge cuts to Medicaid/MaineCare. According to AARP, some 268,000 Mainers of all ages are on MaineCare. For most, the program is nothing short of a lifeline. Individuals living with disabilities and low- and middle-income seniors depend on MaineCare for the care they receive at home or in nursing homes. Cutting MaineCare would jeopardize their ability to access this critical long-term care. In addition, rural hospitals and nursing homes could be forced to close in the wake of cuts to MaineCare, further restricting access to health care.
The bill also proposed allowing insurance companies to charge individuals purchasing coverage in the individual market more simply due to their age. Further, the bill eroded current protections that prevent insurance companies from charging someone more due to a pre-existing condition such as cancer, diabetes or heart disease.
I hope Mainers will reach out and thank Sen. Collins for standing strong for Maine and opposing Graham-Cassidy.
AARP Maine Volunteer State President