At 30 years old, I have made the decision to apply to graduate school at the University of Southern Maine.

One of the requirements to be a student is to have health coverage, so I went on the health care exchange during open enrollment to shop for and learn about my eligibility for health care through the Affordable Care Act. The program I am applying for at USM is intensive, and I can only work in a very limited capacity, if at all, while attending the program.

I was pleased to learn through HealthCare.gov that because of my limited income while in graduate school, I would be eligible for expanded Medicaid through the ACA. But upon further reading, I was reminded of our governor’s choice not to expand Medicaid here in Maine.

I thus fall into a category of Mainers who, because the governor has not chosen to expand MaineCare in our state, are not eligible for health care subsidies.

Deciding to go back to school and invest in your career is a hard decision and one that takes a lot of time, effort and resources. The added cost of loans I will need to take out over the next three years to cover premiums and deductibles through USM’s student health insurance will be nearly $10,000.

This is a real cost to students trying to decide if they can afford to invest in their future and their career. Mainers of my generation are already saddled with student debt. The last thing we need are added loans for health insurance while in school.

We should be investing in our workforce here in Maine and making it easier and cheaper for people like myself to invest in their future. An easy start would be to accept the Medicaid expansion as intended by the ACA.

Philip Browne

Kennebunk