MeHAF announced today that it has awarded $668,017 to five statewide advocacy organizations to ensure that Maine policymakers understand and advance provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that can benefit Maine people who are uninsured and underserved. The organizations will focus their advocacy on key areas of the ACA, commonly referred to as Obamacare, particularly the expansion of Medicaid (MaineCare) to provide access to health care for over 70,000 low-income Maine people.
“These important grants help us support the foundation’s mission of promoting access to quality health care for all Maine people, particularly those who are uninsured and underserved, said Dr. Wendy Wolf, MeHAF’s President and CEO. “A major goal of Obamacare is to increase the number of Americans with affordable, high quality health insurance, through both private and public programs. Although the new Health Insurance Marketplace provides more affordable coverage options for many Maine people and families, thousands of very low-income, uninsured Mainers are not eligible to receive financial assistance that can make a Marketplace health plan affordable. For this group, providing coverage through our state’s Medicaid program is their only real option for affordable high quality health insurance. It is also an essential component of achieving the ACA’s vision of expanding coverage.”
Research has repeatedly shown that individuals who have health insurance are much more likely to get timely and appropriate care, whether coverage is through their job, Medicare (the federal program for people over age 65 and those with disabilities) or Medicaid (a federal-state program for certain groups of low income people). People without insurance often delay getting needed care until such a time that it requires emergency attention, and then they face significant financial barriers to treatment and follow up.
The expansion of Medicaid to provide coverage for individuals and families with low incomes was a key strategy of the ACA to decrease the number of Americans who are uninsured. However, the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling essentially made the choice to expand Medicaid a state decision. The advocacy organizations receiving support from MeHAF will help inform the discussion by Maine policymakers about this key decision. Grantees will also present the stories of real Maine people who are directly impacted by a decision for or against an expansion.
“Our goal in funding these organizations is to make sure that the voices of Maine’s most vulnerable people are heard and taken into consideration by decision-makers as they work to implement the ACA,” said Morgan Hynd, the MeHAF Program Officer who will oversee the grants. “Our hope is to promote a better understanding of the impact of their decisions on those who currently have no other options for health insurance.”
Consumers for Affordable Health Care Foundation
Joe Ditre (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Maine Center for Economic Policy
Garrett Martin (email@example.com)
Maine Equal Justice Partners
Deb Curtis (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Maine Medical Education Trust
Jessa Barnard (email@example.com)
Maine People's Resource Center
Amy Halsted (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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