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Falling on Deaf Ears

 

All winter and spring, volunteers from the American Heart Association have been meeting with legislators, writing letters to the editor, making calls and sending email.  Why?  Because one of the most lifesaving bills in the past decade is being debated in the state house. 

LD633 would accept the federal funds already set aside for Maine to help low income Mainers get the health care they need.  The bill, a Republican initiative, was carefully crafted in order to help these hard working (most of these folks have jobs) people get preventative care, while assuring that Maine would be able to back out of the program if the federal funding was all of a sudden unavailable.

I am worried, however, that all of our pleas may fall on deaf ears.  All of the Legislature’s Democrats and some Republicans support the measure, but we need more in order to override the expected Governor’s veto.

Even though this bill will help 70,000 Mainers, and won’t cost the state much money, political ideology and the inability to step back and assess the true harm done by not accepting these funds may derail our efforts.

The *only* way we can get the wavering legislators to vote for this bill is if they hear a public outcry.  They have to know that their constituents, friends and neighbors demand that they do this.  Otherwise, the ideologues will convince them that, despite all the evidence (and I have reams of evidence), this is not good for Maine.  

Just the other day, someone said to me:  "You know, if we were talking about investing a few million Maine dollars to draw down over $400 million from the Feds for roads, or any other part of the budget, this would be a no-brainer."  They are right.  Why, then can’t we help our friends and neighbors get the health care they need before their strokes and heart attacks?  Why do we insist that hospitals pay millions in uncompensated care once their uncontrolled high blood pressure or cholesterol send them to the ER?  It is unbelievable and unfair.

It is time to take out your bullhorns. Email me at: becky.smith@heart.org FMI

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