Most Mainers know that MaineCare expansion has passed the Legislature and is awaiting the expected LePage veto, which will happen when he returns from his Jamaica vacation.

This will be the third time. Sadly, not enough Republicans are willing to do what is morally and economically correct and override the veto.

As a result, there will be continued needless loss of life. Approximately one Mainer dies every three days and one family goes bankrupt daily because of lack of health insurance. I have worked for years in refugee camps. There, a needless death from lack of health care is a tragedy; here, it is a crime and should never happen.

This expansion is favored by 70 percent of Mainers and endorsed by the Maine Medical Association and the Maine Hospital Association, neither group known for their radical ideas.

Republicans cite the discredited Alexander study to back up their claims and ignore the fact that MaineCare spending has not risen since 2009.

They also claim that expansion will allow able-bodied citizens to avoid work and that one-third of those covered will be felons. Facts clearly show that the majority are working poor, families with children and the disabled.

Republicans ignore the fact that we will end up paying ourselves, as increased charity care in hospital emergency rooms will be passed on through increased hospital costs and insurance premiums – something we are all familiar with.

It is maintained that we cannot afford the expansion and that MaineCare is cannibalizing other critical programs, like education and elderly and disabled services, while the reality is that the culprit is the recent tax cuts that predominantly favor the wealthy.

Presently, Maine is losing more than $1 million daily in federal subsidies by this obstinate refusal and our tax dollars are going to other states.

Stephen Sokol, M.D., DTMPH
Lewiston