Maine seniors plead with Senator Collins to save their health care

Maine seniors plead with Senator Collins to save their health care

Senior citizens and health care professionals met at the Bangor Public Library on Thursday to ask U.S. Senator Susan Collins to oppose attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a plan to immediately replace its vital provisions.

“Those people that can’t afford for them to do this are going to lose the most. The people who are the weakest are going to lose. Those who are the richest certainly don’t lose. Not financially. They don’t lose their lives. They don’t lose their health,” Wilbur Worcester of Hermon, a U.S. Army veteran, told WABI. “Whenever there’s a chance for a politician to get a photo-op with a veteran or to praise us in a speech, they are always there. Well, today, thousands of Mainers need our congressional delegation standing with us to protect Maine’s veterans.”

Collins voted last week in favor of a proposal that will allow Republicans to dismantle the Act with a simple majority voter and without a first passing a replacement plan. She has since proposed the outlines of a plan, which would fail to fully replace many of the provisions of the Act.

“The Affordable Care Act has, in less than 7 years, saved 8.2 million seniors more than $11 billion on prescriptions,” said Diane Grandmaison of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “That’s why, for retired Americans, supporting the ACA is just common sense, and, for any of our congressional delegation who wants to support Maine seniors, it is crucial that they ensure that any legislation passed through congress specifically protects those who currently benefit from the health care law.”

Contact Senator Collins Here

Several aspects of the ACA are particularly important for Maine seniors. The law closes the Medicare prescription drug donut hole, mandates no-cost screenings for cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases, and lowers Medicare Part B premiums.

“I saw life for seniors before the Affordable Care Act. The high cost of prescription drugs left because of the donut hole forced seniors into impossible decisions: food or medication,” said Tim Conmee, a registered nurse from Orrington. “They would try to take their medications half as often or to take half as much, so that it would stretch. Often, they would end up in the emergency room, having hurt themselves and incurring a cost far higher than the price of the medication.”

According to new projections from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the repeal plan advanced by House Republicans would mean 32 million Americans would lose their health insurance and premiums would skyrocket, increasing 50% in the first year alone.

Maine has the most rapidly aging population, one of the highest percentages of older veterans, and one of the highest rates employees of small businesses accessing health coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

The Bangor-area seniors were joined by a group of national health care advocates who are traveling the country as part of the “Save My Care” bus tour, working to highlight the stories of Americans who will lose their health care if the ACA is repealed.

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