Campaign Launched to Protect Medicaid

March 24, 2017

A Growing Coalition Forms to Fight for Affordable Health Care Coverage for All

A coalition of individuals and organizations today launched the Together for Medicaid Campaign to urge members of Congress to protect the program that provides affordable health care to hundreds of thousands of Mainers.

“Legislation in Congress is putting Medicaid at risk,” said Robyn Merrill, the executive director of Maine Equal Justice Partners and a member of the growing campaign coalition. “Right now, more than 265,000 Mainers receive affordable health care thanks to Medicaid. If the American Health Care Act passes, it will cost Maine more than $1 billion and tens of thousands of people will lose coverage.”

As part of the AHCA, Congress is considering two funding schemes that would be disastrous for Medicaid – called MaineCare here. So-called per capita caps and block grants would ratchet down the federal share of funding for Medicaid, forcing states to either make up the difference, kick people off their insurance or both.

“By radically changing the way Medicaid is funded, the AHCA threatens the health and well-being of almost half of Maine’s children and their families,” said Claire Berkowitz, the executive director of the Maine Children’s Alliance. “It also threatens to reverse two-decades worth of critical gains made in children’s health care coverage.”

If the AHCA becomes law, children and seniors would be among the hardest hit in Maine. Sixty-five percent of Maine’s nursing home residents rely on MaineCare to pay the bill and seniors account for 18 percent of Medicaid enrollees in the state, a much higher percentage than the national average of 9 percent.

“The AHCA will cause real pain to older adults in Maine, who could find themselves unable to afford home care or assisted living or left without critical health care support,” said Jess Maurer, co-chair of the Maine Council on Aging. “Today, older Mainers are already having trouble finding and affording the care they need. They are on wait lists for home care, assisted living and nursing home care. We are asking our members of Congress to reject this attack on Medicaid that will make it even harder for Maine’s older adults to get the basic care they need.”

The Together for Medicaid Campaign is compiling detailed information about the impact of the AHCA and the proposed changes to funding for Medicaid, and will conduct a statewide campaign to raise awareness about these critical issues.

The Together for Medicaid leadership team includes Maine Equal Justice Partners, Consumers for Affordable Health Care, the Maine Council on Aging, Maine Children’s Alliance, Maine People’s Resource Center, New Mainer’s Public Health Initiative and the Consumer Council System of Maine.