The Oct. 5 commentary by Rep. Karen Vachon, opposing Medicaid expansion, is more than a little deceptive.

Ms. Vachon asserts that the expansion has failed five times in the Legislature and that efforts to pass it by a citizen-initiated referendum will lead to unsound, uninformed, emotionally based decisions.

n First, the majority of Maine’s legislators, representing a majority of Maine’s citizens, passed proposals to expand Medicaid each of those five times. Their efforts were vetoed by the governor, who exercised sufficient partisan discipline to keep the Legislature from overriding the vetoes.

n Second, she addresses the question of “able-bodied,” childless adults with her party’s view that such folks should be self-sufficient or “free” to deal with consequences of not being so. If you or a loved one fall into this category but also have a life-threatening chronic condition such as Type 1 diabetes, asthma, cystic fibrosis, etc., you may be only one job loss or job change from being “free” to suffer or die from lack of access to needed daily health care.

n Third, Ms. Vachon, who lives in southern Maine, where we enjoy an abundance of health care resources, seems (perhaps willfully so) ignorant of the reality in rural parts of our state. Nearly half of the state’s hospitals are in dire financial straits.

Gary Poquette, CEO of Penobscot Valley Hospital in my hometown, Lincoln, asserts that Medicaid expansion would go a long way toward ensuring the hospital stays open. They have already had to cease many life-sustaining services, including obstetrics and chemotherapy infusions, but are in danger of failing completely.

Passing Medicaid expansion will bring access to health care to 70,000 Mainers and help stabilize rural health facilities. It is a needed step on the path to health care for all.

Ann Morrill

South Portland