The true costs of cancer are heavy, they are deep, and they are ultimately unaffordable for many, a challenge further exacerbated by this year’s COVID-19 pandemic and spotlighted by the upcoming Supreme Court case challenging the Affordable Care Act.
Maine Voters Support Expanding Access to Medicaid
The Maine Legislature passed and delivered bills to expand access to health coverage via Medicaid to Governor Paul Le Page five times over the last several years, only to be thwarted by a veto with each attempt. On this past Election Day, Maine voters finally had their say on the issue and overwhelmingly cast their ballots in favor of increasing access to affordable health coverage for low-income people in their state. The final vote on Maine’s Question 2 was 59 percent for expansion, clearly indicating that residents were in support of the idea.
This victory will save lives and provide a lifeline to thousands of hardworking, low-income Mainers who need access to affordable health coverage.
We know that people who lack health insurance are less likely to see a doctor, get recommended cancer screenings and are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer at later stages – when it’s more costly and difficult to treat – and with poorer outcomes. By increasing access to care, Maine is ensuring better health outcomes and a healthier, thriving state population in the future.
Roughly half of all cancers are preventable, and we have been able to save more lives from this disease than ever before with scientific improvements in the way we treat and diagnose cancer. But these lives can only be saved if people have access to evidence-based, recommended screenings, regular doctor visits and the treatment they need to manage their cancer.
Nearly 69 million Americans rely on Medicaid for access to wellness, preventive health care and medical treatment – including 2.3 million people with some history of cancer. To date, 31 states have increased access to their Medicaid programs, providing more than 9 million individuals and families access to health care coverage and to lifesaving tests like mammograms, colonoscopies and other cancer screenings.
With the support of Mainers, ACS CAN now has the opportunity to work with the state’s lawmakers on effective implementation of Medicaid expansion. Our staff and passionate volunteers in Maine stand ready to collaborate with state leaders to ensure adequate funding for the state program so that those affected by cancer can access and maintain quality affordable health coverage.
I thank our staff, volunteers and the residents of Maine for delivering this victory. Together we can increase access to health coverage, save lives and help eliminate cancer as a major health problem.