By Dr. Guy Raymond, President of the Maine Medical Association
My name is Guy Raymond and I am an emergency medicine and family physician practicing in Fort Kent at Northern Maine Medical Center. I am also the president of the Maine Medical Association, which has more than 4,000 physician members.
I grew up in Aroostook County and have practiced family medicine and emergency medicine in the County for over 30 years. I have been honored to care for families as they grow and age, treating everyone from new babies to seniors in their last years.
Maine physicians support accepting federal funds to expand access to health care through Medicaid.
This is because we know that in the United States you need health coverage to access regular health care. Individuals with health insurance are more likely to have a regular doctor and live longer, healthier lives. As health care costs continue to rise for everyone, we need to ensure that people have access to primary care and seek preventive services before their health care needs become high cost emergencies or more difficult to treat.
As the medical director of the emergency room I have seen first-hand how people may put off necessary care because they cannot afford it.
One thing I have learned serving as a physician in a small town is that many of our patients and neighbors have trouble affording health coverage. Hardworking men and women who care for our children and elderly, grow our food, sell us groceries and clothing or fix our cars may not be offered health insurance through work or be able to afford expensive premiums.
The Affordable Care Act provides a life-saving opportunity for thousands of uninsured Mainers to gain affordable health coverage through the new Health Insurance Marketplace. Unfortunately, some people will go to the Marketplace and realize that they are not eligible for help. Worse yet, it will be those who can least afford it. They will be left out because our State has not yet decided to accept the federal funds already allocated to provide coverage through MaineCare for nearly 70,000 of our neighbors.
Maine physicians urge our elected officials to put aside politics and allow all Mainers to get help accessing health insurance and health care as provided for by the Affordable Care Act.
For more information, please visit www.aarp.org/me