Bill Nemitz’s Aug. 27 column “Whine about insurance? How about survival?” is disingenuous and off topic. The issue concerns the wording of the Medicaid Expansion referendum question, specifically – the word “Insurance.” This referendum addresses the under 65 market with income at/or below 138 percent of FPL. It has nothing to do with Medicare.

For argument, Nemitz chose to talk about his cancer. Despite having great insurance, he still had bills; friends held a fundraiser for him. He has private group health insurance. Given the choice of Medicaid or private health insurance; private insurance is far superior – always.

Cancer — no matter what you have for coverage; group or individual health insurance, or Mainecare — is financially devastating. Mostly because you lose your ability to work; family members take time off to care for you; loss of income means unpaid mortgages, utilities, etc.

No health insurance replaces income. The Medicaid expansion referendum will not fix this problem. Further, evoking fear that Medicare recipients could be financially liable for $60,000 to receive the same treatment as him. Neither issue has any relevance to the debate.

Just the same, low-income seniors might be comforted to know that Maine’s Medicare Savings Plan is among the most generous welfare safety nets in the country – with eligibility at 175 percent of FPL versus 135 percent FPL nationally.

So, back to topic: Should Medicaid be called insurance? Today, Mainers earning $12,100 per year are at 100 percent of FPL, enjoy private subsidized health insurance through Obamacare. This coverage is comparable to Nemitz’s coverage. They have very low premiums, deductibles and out-of-pockets. Most importantly, they have provider choice.

Passage of Medicaid expansion replaces these plans with Medicaid. The question currently worded, suggests that current private health insurance will be paid by Medicaid. This is incorrect. Medicaid is not insurance. The wording must change.

Karen Vachon

Scarborough