I have grown weary of reading about our politicians’ “alternative belief” that the Affordable Care Act is ineffective, expensive and generally bad for people’s health.

I was privileged to work at the Biddeford Free Clinic for close to 20 years. During that time we provided care for hundreds of York County residents who made too much money to qualify for MaineCare but were unable to purchase their employer’s health insurance because they worked at big retailers but didn’t get enough hours per week to qualify for coverage.

These are good, honest people who are trapped in an economy that is clearly stacked against low-income earners. When the Affordable Care Act came into existence, we were able to transition almost all of our patients to insurance and we closed the clinic.

I had a private practice in Sanford for 36 years, and my experience there was identical. We took care of many uninsured patients for free. However, Mainers are proud, and they don’t want charity and would not seek help unless they were in dire straits.

Once my patients were fully insured, they came to visits more regularly with tears of gratitude that their government actually cared about them. I was able to schedule them for meaningful preventive tests, such as colonoscopies, which saved lives.

It is apparent that our political leaders, for the most part, are clueless about health care and only choose to serve their masters (insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry, doctors’ interest groups). I am certain that they and their families have never gone without medical care. It has been said that “no one is as blind as one who refuses to see”; in this case, though, they see but choose to ignore the plight of their constituents.

William Frank, M.D.


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