Here in the state of Maine, we owe a debt of gratitude to the Legislature for doing the right thing.

Recently, lawmakers voted to override Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of L.D. 782, “An Act to Improve the Quality of Life of Persons with Serious Illnesses.” This legislation creates a palliative care and quality of life advisory council to help the state identify measures to expand access to and awareness of palliative care in Maine.

Today, not enough people here in Maine have access to palliative care services. However, thanks to this law, that will soon change.

In addition to attending to the symptoms of disease and side effects of treatments, palliative care includes an assessment of patients’ goals for their care and is appropriate at any age and at any stage of disease and not just at end of life.

There is no question that all Mainers suffering from chronic disease, such as cancer, must have access to quality palliative care. I applaud our lawmakers for supporting this important piece of legislation.

Jan Ronan

volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network