Don’t we want healthy citizens, who can go to work and take care of their families? Isn’t there monetary value in all that?

Medicaid opponents propose changing the language on the ballot referendum for Medicaid expansion from “insurance” to the hot-button label of “welfare,” in an effort to have voters defeat it. But Medicaid is a health care insurance program for those with limited resources, as stated by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In a country that subsidizes business with big tax cuts, doesn’t it make sense to do the same with people’s health?

Mr. Posik, of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, wrote (in the Aug. 24 PPH) of the increased costs that Mainers would be “on the hook for,” or “footing the bill for,” and writes nothing of the human suffering that is alleviated.

Econofact.org notes that research shows having insurance improves health and financial status. Sick people lose their jobs, can’t support themselves or their families, and have worse health outcomes. The cost shows in loss to business, emergency room visits, policing, and welfare rolls.

Medicaid recipients often have had the most dangerous jobs, sometimes without insurance–maintenance, construction, public service, transportation, manufacturing, agricultural work, and at the top, logging and fishing industries. Even nursing is on the list, and this is a state where nearly 20 percent of residents are elderly and often need them.

We should focus on decreasing the need to subsidize emergency services and additional policing instead of penalizing our least fortunate. The welfare label is a distortion.

Dawn Leland

Portland