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AMA News Room

Oct. 5, 2013

Medical Associations, AARP Push for Expanding Health Coverage in Maine

Maine Medical Association, American Medical Association and AARP

For immediate release:
Oct. 5, 2013

Health Insurance Marketplace Launch Leaves Maine Still Needing Legislative Action

PORTLAND – The Maine Medical Association (MMA), American Medical Association (AMA) and AARP held a joint press conference on Saturday, October 5th, at the MMA's 160th annual meeting. The non-profits discussed the new health insurance marketplace, opportunities for enrollment, and concerns regarding Maine's failure to accept federal dollars to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in 2013.

The medical community, along with AARP, is focused on making sure that consumers get the information they need about the new health exchanges. "The AMA's support for the health system reform law reflects our long-standing role as a leading voice for covering the uninsured – who all too often live sicker and die younger," said AMA Immediate Past Chair Steven Stack, M.D. "Americans have been bombarded with conflicting messages about the health care reform law. It's important for people – especially the uninsured -- to learn the facts."

Incoming MMA president, Guy Raymond, MD, stressed the point that in 2013, Maine missed the initial opportunity to accept millions of dollars in federal funds to offer residents health insurance as well as reduce hospital debt and charity care. "It is imperative that Maine accept federal funds to expand access to health care through Medicaid," he said on Saturday. "Having quality health coverage is a key factor in people being able to see their doctor for both preventative care and treatment of illness and disease."

AARP stated that having access to affordable health care coverage can be especially important for older adults not yet eligible for Medicare.

"Thousands of older Mainers have lost their jobs or are struggling in jobs without health insurance," said Neal Lane of AARP's National Policy Council. "Leaving vulnerable people without access to primary and preventive care can jeopardize even the most careful preparation for health and financial security in later life."

AARP Maine Volunteer State President, Rich Livingston, added "Of particular note is the fact that because Maine declined federal funds during the last legislative session, tens of thousands of Mainers, many of whom are 50-64, will fall into a "coverage gap." They will have no access to health coverage under Medicaid; and, they are too poor to qualify for subsidized coverage under the new health insurance exchanges. On behalf of our 230,000 AARP members and their families, we urge our elected leaders to do the right thing in 2014 and expand health care coverage for all hardworking Mainers."

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Brenda L. Craine, Director, AMA Media and Editorial
American Medical Association
202-789-7447 and brenda.craine@ama-asn.org

Jessa Barnard, Associate General Counsel
Maine Medical Association
207-462-5713 and jbarnard@mainemed.com

Jane Margesson, Communications Director
AARP Maine
207-229-5628 and jmargesson@aarp.org

For information about the Health Insurance Marketplace, Mainers should contact Consumers for Affordable Health Care at www.mainecach.org or 1-800-965-7476 or contact the National Marketplace 24/7 Hotline at www.healthcare.gov or 1-800-318-2596.

The AMA, headquartered in Chicago, is committed to enabling a better health care system for patients and physicians to improve the health of the nation. Through its broad reach and deep relationships, the AMA is initiating partnerships to advance results-focused endeavors that improve public health, improve medical education and improve physician practice sustainability and satisfaction. Visit ama-assn.org to learn more about the AMA.

The Maine Medical Association is the largest physician membership organization in the state, with more than 4,000 physicians, medical students and medical residents as members. The MMA's mission is to support Maine physicians, advance the quality of medicine in Maine, and promote the health of all Maine citizens. Learn more at www.mainemed.com.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services. A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org.

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