I attended the Maine Medical Association news conference Jan. 23 at the State House to support Medicaid expansion. The MMA asked four doctors to speak about the need to expand Medicaid coverage in order to insure more of the working poor in Maine.

I had to leave early to see a patient with a stroke. While I was driving to the hospital, I thought about the patient discussed by Dr. Amy Madden from Belgrade Health Center.

She had recently seen a gentleman without access to health insurance who could not afford his medication and was having to choose between buying groceries and taking medication for his hypertension.

They tried to solve the problem by looking at the cheapest prescriptions from Walmart, some of them being priced at $4 for a 30-day supply. I certainly sympathized with their problem, as I have seen many such patients in my practice.

Seeing patients with these insurance problems every day is very emotionally taxing on medical providers. Any physician can handle one or two such patients in an office day, but if it turns out that you are seeing such patients all day, the frustration builds up and may lead to a feeling of exhaustion.

I am concerned about our Maine primary care practitioners, as I think they might be subject to burnout facing such challenges day to day. This may lead some of the physicians to retire early.

If more patients have insurance coverage, office visits will be easier and more rewarding for both clinician and patient because tests and medications will be paid for.

We need to keep such dedicated physicians as Dr. Madden in our state. I would urge concerned citizens to contact their state legislators and urge expansion of Medicaid as outlined in the Affordable Care Act.

Peter Bridgman, M.D.

Yarmouth