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News & Media

Southern Maine Agency on Aging endorses Question #2 to expand Medicaid coverage in Maine

November 2, 2017 (Scarborough, ME) – The Southern Maine Agency on Aging (SMAA) has examined closely referendum Question #2, a citizen initiative to expand Medicaid eligibility for adult Mainers who fall below 138% of the Federal Poverty Level.  Expansion of Medicaid eligibility aligns with SMAA’s mission to improve the quality of life for older adults, adults with disabilities and the people who care for them.

The exact wording on the ballot reads:

TITLE: An Act to Enhance Access to Affordable Health Care.

“Do you want Maine to expand Medicaid to provide healthcare coverage for qualified adults under age 65 with incomes at or below 138% of the federal poverty level, which in 2017 means $16,643 for a single person and $22,412 for a family of two?”

At SMAA, we see every day the important role that Maine’s Medicaid program plays to help low income older people obtain life-saving medications, medical care, and affordable health insurance.  Our staff and volunteers too frequently encounter childless older adults whose income is just over the Federal Poverty level ($12,060 per year in 2017) and who are not disabled or old enough to qualify for Medicare.

The cost of private insurance is beyond their means, so they go without coverage.  Preventable or chronic health care issues become serious ones, and expensive hospital emergency rooms become their healthcare provider of last resort.  We know this leads to an enormous waste of healthcare dollars and exposes those least able to pay with large debts and out of pocket expenses. 

Thirty-one states, including New Hampshire, have expanded their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act and have reaped the benefits of better access to health care for their low income residents.

Older, low income Maine residents would benefit significantly from expanded MaineCare eligibility, getting regular access to physicians and healthcare providers and support for expensive medications.  This will encourage earlier and less expensive medical treatments and lead to better health.

We are urging SMAA staff, volunteers, and clients to go to the polls on November 7th and vote “YES” on Question #2. We hope you’ll join them.

Kristine Sullivan, President, Board of Directors
Laurence Gross, Chief Executive Officer