Today, 17 patient groups submitted a letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Alex Azar, and the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Seema Verma, urging them to quickly approve Maine’s State Plan Amendment. In addition, the groups released the following shared statement:
“As patient and health care organizations, we represent and support millions of individuals facing serious, acute and chronic health conditions. Affordable and quality health care is essential for the health and lives of the patients we represent, including all residents of Maine. Approving Maine’s State Plan Amendment to extend eligibility for the state Medicaid program to 138 percent of the federal poverty level would allow an additional 70,000 residents to have access to the quality and affordable health care they need. Increasing access to coverage through Medicaid would provide access to cancer and diabetes screenings, immunizations and other preventive services that will prevent not only disease but also reduce the cost of health care for both enrollees and the state of Maine.
“Increasing access to coverage through Medicaid improves the health of residents who are struggling to get by. In addition, we have seen in other states this also improves financial well-being of recipients resulting in less medical debt. This is a benefit for recipients and states alike, as states that have increased access to Medicaid experienced a significantly greater reduction in uninsured hospitalizations for major cardiovascular events than non-expansion states and extending eligibility for Medicaid has also helped state economies and has been associated with reduced risk of hospital closures, especially in rural areas.
“Almost a year ago, Maine residents voted to increase access to the state’s Medicaid program. Residents understand that extending eligibility to Medicaid in this way is an important step to setting a fair and adequate baseline of care for all. Our groups strongly urge HHS and CMS to approve the Amendment swiftly to increase access to care through Medicaid so that 70,000 low-income Maine residents can obtain quality and affordable health care coverage.”
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
American Diabetes Association
American Heart Association
American Lung Association
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Global Healthy Living
Hemophilia Federation of America
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Lutheran Services in America
March of Dimes
National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Hemophilia Foundation
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
National Organization for Rare Disorders
National Patient Advocate Foundation
National Psoriasis Foundation
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.