January 5, 2013

Turns out there IS a doctor in the House

Well, three, actually, and another in the state Senate. Together with other medical professionals, they make up a powerful bloc as Maine confronts its health care future.

By Kelley Bouchard kbouchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 2)

click image to enlarge

There are four medical doctors serving in the State House in the coming legislative session: top, Rep. Ann Dorney, D-Norridgewock; above left to right, Rep. Jane Pringle, D-Windham; Rep. Linda Sanborn, D-Gorham; and Sen. Geoffrey Gratwick, D-Bangor.

Contributed photos

“Physicians are very much concerned with the health of all Americans and want to make it better,” Gratwick said. “I believe that concern transcends the politics that have hijacked health-care reform. Unfortunately, we’re living in a time where some people believe that anything government does is bad.”

Gratwick said he intends to work with the LePage administration, but he hopes to educate Maine lawmakers about the realities of health care today.

“We already have universal health care,” Gratwick said, referring to free care provided to the uninsured at hospital emergency rooms.

Gratwick said studies have shown that every dollar spent on preventive health care practices saves $7 in acute health care costs. However, he said, lawmakers must take steps to move away from a for-profit system that generates the most money when people are sick and need costly medicines and treatments.

“We have our system backwards,” Gratwick said. “Patient care is no longer the primary objective.”

Dorney, 59, takes a more holistic approach to creating a healthier Maine.

In addition to fully adopting the Affordable Care Act and expanding Medicaid coverage, she believes the state should invest in alternative-energy industries, such as solar and geothermal technologies, and programs to make Maine homes more energy efficient.

Both would be good for the environment and create jobs, she said, and employed Mainers are often healthier Mainers.

“That’s what I’m hoping for,” Dorney said. “We’ll see.”

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

kbouchard@pressherald.com

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