Last week, Governor LePage blocked health coverage to hardworking Maine residents by vetoing a bill that would have provided Medicaid to 70,000 people.
Maine is one of 24 states that have not taken federal funding to cover more people in Medicaid. Under the health care law, women and their families in every state are eligible for tax credits to help them afford health insurance, depending on their family income. In states that accept federal money to expand coverage through Medicaid, people with lower incomes will also have affordable coverage. But in states that turn down the money, people with lower incomes (and those who do not meet other strict eligibility criteria) will not get any financial help for health insurance costs. That’s the “coverage gap” too many women and families are facing right now.
And for the third time, Governor LePage denied hardworking Maine families access to affordable health coverage.
Low-income uninsured women—many of whom would be eligible for coverage if Governor LePage had signed the bill—are more likely to go without care because of cost, less likely to have a regular source of care, and utilize preventive services at lower rates than low-income women with health insurance. There is a significant health care gap between insured and uninsured low-income women in Maine. For uninsured women in Maine, cost is major obstacle to care—over 51 percent of uninsured women have experienced cost barriers when seeking care, compared to only 16 percent of insured women. Uninsured women also utilize preventive services at lower rates; only 50 percent of uninsured women in Maine received a recommended mammogram compared to 78 percent of insured women.
Mainers are in dire need of affordable health coverage and Governor LePage’s shameful veto denies women access to the care they need.