Mainers deliver hundreds of pink slips to Rep. Poliquin for health care vote

Mainers deliver hundreds of pink slips to Rep. Poliquin for health care vote

More than a hundred Mainers angered and energized by Representative Bruce Poliquin’s health care repeal vote visited his office in Bangor on Wednesday to deliver 1,500 messages from Mainers written on pink slips of paper to let the congressman know that his vote may cost him his job.

After weeks of refusing to publicly state his position, Rep. Poliquin joined his Republican colleagues last week to vote in favor of a health care repeal bill estimated to cut health coverage for 24 million people, dramatically increase premiums for thousands of older residents in the Second District and roll back protections for individuals with preexisting conditions.

“I am disabled with a chronic condition. For me, staying alive requires thousands of dollars in medications and surgeries costing thousands more. Without real health care coverage, I will die,” said Victoria Watkins, a Bangor resident who spoke at a curbside rally outside Poliquin’s office. “The Medicaid cuts Rep. Poliquin supports will cause thousands of people like me to lose the care we so desperately need.”

“When people don’t have health insurance, they too often don’t get the care they need. I’ve had countless patients who recognized a potentially disastrous symptom who delayed treatment in hopes that the symptom might just go away. Consequently, by the time a patient reaches me, I am often fighting unnecessary deterioration with a shorter clock,” said Mark Lupinetti, a cardiovascular surgeon who works in Bangor. “Rep. Poliquin voted to pull the rug out from under sick, poor and elderly Mainers across the second congressional district. I entered medicine to save lives, but Poliquin’s policies would make it much more difficult for doctors to treat our patients.”

Poliquin’s staff refused to accept the messages, so the health care advocates left them on the office doorstep.

The delivery comes on the same day as a visit by Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, who is hosting a roundtable on Maine’s growing opioid epidemic in Augusta. Health professionals have warned that repealing the Affordable Care Act would make the opioid epidemic worse by removing addiction treatment as an essential health benefit covered by insurance and by cutting funding for Medicaid, which is the largest source of coverage for behavioral health services in the country.

“Rep. Poliquin voted for a health care plan that will take us back to a system where Mainers paid more for less coverage. His vote makes drastic cuts to Medicaid so that the wealthy can get a tax break and jeopardizes funding for addiction treatment in the midst of a terrible epidemic,” said MPA Bangor-area community organizer Sam Portera. “We know Mainers want more health care, not less. No amount of spin from Poliquin will change the fact that he’s wildly out of step with Mainers on this issue.”

 

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