Ensuring access to high-quality, affordable health care coverage for Mainers has been a priority of mine since being elected to the state Senate in 2010. I spent significant time examining our current health care system as chair of the Insurance and Financial Services Committee. I’m troubled by calls to completely replace it with an unproven state government-run system that is likely to reduce access and hurt Maine families and small businesses.
During my time in the state legislature, I sponsored bills to ensure sustainable health care access to our neighbors in the rural Jackman region. A government-run option will undo the progress we’ve made in expanding rural access across the entire state. In fact, up to half of rural hospitals could be financially at risk under a government-run system.
As a small-business owner, I’ve experienced firsthand the difficulty Maine’s small businesses have experienced over the last two years. Whittemore & Sons has provided and serviced outdoor power equipment for central Maine since 1970, yet seldom have we seen the hardship employees and employers have lived through due to the pandemic. Increased taxes from a government-run system would do even more harm on top of supply chain difficulties and soaring inflation, forcing more businesses to close and lay off workers.
A new, flawed government-controlled system is simply unaffordable for Maine’s families and small businesses. I’m calling on my colleagues in Augusta to build on the successes of our current system and improve upon it where necessary to keep high-quality health care and coverage accessible to all.