“Care Force One” Makes Stop in Bangor on National Bus Tour
Bangor, ME – Today, State Representatives Steve Stanley, Anne Perry, and Ryan Tipping joined former Mayor Joe Baldacci and Mainers with pre-existing conditions at Waterfront Park in Bangor to speak out against the devastating repercussions of health care repeal.
The event was part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour calling attention to Republicans’ attempts to sabotage health care, including a lawsuit signed by Governor Paul LePage that would gut protections for Mainers with pre-existing conditions and Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s (ME-02) repeated attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
The 548,000 Mainers living with a pre-existing condition would be in jeopardy if a judge sides with Paul LePage, President Trump, and the GOP in their lawsuit. What’s more, 70,000 Mainers have been denied access to affordable health coverage through Governor LePage’s refusal to expand Medicaid.
“Our message today is that Senator Collins and Congressman Poliquin need to listen to the people of Maine and their needs,” said former Bangor Mayor Joe Baldacci. “There are hundreds of thousands of people who benefit from the all the protections provided under the ACA. The economy of rural Maine will take a devastating blow if it is repealed. So I stand here today to say this is what is right for the people of Maine.”
Ashley Homstead, who works in the recovery community, said, “If I didn’t get the treatment I needed when I was younger, I would not be here today. Today, I work with women on the waitlist waiting for treatment. I have 43 women on my waitlist, 36 of which do not have insurance, and I can guarantee you they’d be eligible for Medicaid if it were to expand. When you’re thinking about the ACA and expanding Medicaid, think about these women and their families.”
“I was diagnosed with a pre-existing when I was 17, before the ACA,” said Kristen Nilsen, a mental health counselor. “A few years later when I was in between jobs, the only coverage available to me – because of the pre-existing condition in my medical history – was $1,500 a month. I had to go without health insurance because I needed to put food on the table.”
State Representative Anne Perry highlighted the importance of expanding Medicaid in the state, adding, “We cannot afford to go back to the way things were. We were in trouble before the ACA.” State Representative Ryan Tipping concluded the event by saying, “we should be moving forward, making sure care is more affordable and more available. We shouldn’t be moving backwards. Call Senator Collins and Representative Poliquin and tell them to stop this attack on health care throughout the country.”
“The stakes have never been higher for Mainers’ health care,” said TJ Helmstetter of Protect Our Care. “Since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, almost 70,000 Mainers have gained health insurance. This is all in jeopardy due to Republicans’ repeal and sabotage agenda, including Governor LePage’s ludicrous lawsuit and Rep. Poliquin’s vote to repeal health care. Mainers want this Republican war on health care to end, plain and simple. That’s why we’re here today.”