To the Editor,

I am writing to encourage your readers to contact their legislators to support the expansion of Medicaid in Maine.

Even as more people will soon be able to access subsidies to help them get affordable health insurance, tens of thousands of Mainers are slated to lose their eligibility for MaineCare. Many of these people — those with income less than 138 percent of poverty level — cannot afford insurance, even with the subsidies. This is why the funds to expand Medicaid have been made available. Over the next three years, this would bring $1 billion in federal money into Maine, something we would be foolish to ignore.

In 2014, the federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of the expansion and this will taper to 90 percent of the cost by the third year.

No matter what your political affiliation, it does not make sense to let this money pass us by. If we don’t accept it now, it will go to other states.

Not only will we be helping fellow Mainers, but the money will help stimulate our local economy and some of our federal tax dollars will actually be returned to our state.

I urge you to call or email your legislators or the governor very soon, so we do not miss out on this important opportunity.

Peg Duhamel, MD