Lawmakers will soon take up a Republican sponsored bill to accept federal funds to cover health care for 70,000 Mainers, including nearly 3,000 veterans.  This is a common sense proposal: It saves lives, it saves money and it creates jobs.

 In Sagadahoc County alone, 1,456 people would gain access to health care.  An additional $8 million will be spent annually on health care services by 2016, stimulating about $3 million in additional economic activity.  Expansion would create approximately 34 new jobs in the county.

 Moreover, this proposal is truly a good-faith compromise that directly addresses many of the arguments advanced by opponents of health care expansion:

 – It reduces the wait list for home care services for individuals with intellectual disabilities

– It steps up Medicaid fraud prosecution by adding two new fraud investigators to the Attorney General’s Office

– It reduces Medicaid health care costs by putting in place a managed care plan

– It includes an opt out and a sunset provision

 Under this plan, Democrats and reasonable Republicans came together to do what is best for the people of Maine.  

 The county by county benefit is well documented.  Thousands of people get health care; millions of dollars are pumped into the local economy; hundreds of local jobs are created at a time when Maine lags behind the rest of the nation for job growth.

 To be sure, if these funds were for anything but health care under the Affordable Care Act, Governor LePage and his allies would be chomping at the bit for this kind of economic investment and job creation.  Can you imagine the Governor turning down this kind of funding for roads, for education, or for disaster relief?

Poll after poll shows Mainers strongly support accepting these dollars.

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