The Maine Children’s Alliance is thrilled with the results of yesterday’s election, with the majority of Mainers voting overwhelmingly in favor of expanding Medicaid. Medicaid Expansion will increase access to quality, affordable health care to an estimated 80,000 Mainers.
“Access to quality, affordable health care coverage is critical to the success of our state,” said Claire Berkowitz, Executive Director of the Maine Children’s Alliance. “And yesterday, Maine voters sent a strong message to our leaders at the State House and in Washington: it is time to increase access to health care coverage, not decrease it.”
Maine joins 32 other states in expanding Medicaid after several failed attempts in the State Legislature. Bills to expand Medicaid passed in the State Legislature on five different occasions but were vetoed by the Governor. As a result, Maine voters took the issue into their own hands and successfully secured a health care victory for Maine children and families.
Although Medicaid Expansion does not directly provide health care coverage to children since they are already eligible for Medicaid, kids and families still benefit. Research shows that the health care coverage between children and parents are linked. When parents go without health insurance, their children tend to as well—even if the children themselves are eligible for coverage.
In Maine, the rate of uninsured children is above the national average and more than half of Maine’s uninsured children are eligible for MaineCare but are not enrolled in the program. As more Maine parents receive health care under Medicaid Expansion, it is likely their children will enroll in Medicaid as well.
Maine children also need healthy parents to raise them. When parents have access to health care coverage, they are more likely to see a doctor when they are sick or injured and receive regular preventive care. This reduces the risk of more serious health conditions that could prevent parents from working, caring for their children and experiencing financial ruin from medical bills.
“I hope that Maine Lawmakers respect the will of Maine people by working together to quickly implement Medicaid Expansion in Maine so more Mainers have access to critical health care coverage,” said Berkowitz.