I am writing to express my disappointment at Sen. Susan Collins’ lack of a public stand against potential cuts to the Maine Medicaid program.

My uncle, Francis T. Finnegan Jr., advocated for public health as state director of the Maine Medicaid program. He championed expansion of Medicaid to HIV-positive people to extend benefits from new drug advances in the 1990s, and he commented to The New York Times, “Instead of requiring people to get sick enough to qualify for Medicaid, why not design a program where they can live in society and maintain their jobs but receive assistance?”

We must again answer the call to invest now in people’s lives so they can maintain their health and not become too ill to work because of deferred care and the stress that comes with mounting medical bills.

All people are at risk of accident or illness and may need Medicaid. My sister’s college engineering career was interrupted when she began experiencing symptoms of what would eventually be diagnosed as schizoaffective disorder. Despite the difficult hand she was dealt, Allie emerged a true hero and graduated this winter from the University of Rhode Island.

Allie now qualifies for Medicaid because her condition is currently disabling. Medicaid expansion allows her to pursue part-time work as part of her recovery, but this option won’t exist under Republican proposals to roll back the program.

Block-granting Medicaid may also deprive Allie of the services she needs to stay an active member of the community. Allie will always have her support of her family; can she count on the support of her country?

My family, in Maine and beyond, is counting on Sen. Collins to speak for all Mainers and oppose what could be drastic cuts for the most vulnerable among us.

Sarah Finnegan Rice


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