157 Mainers die every year that we don’t accept federal funding to expand Medicaid coverage

Maine People's Alliance
Robin,I had an incredibly fun and insightful interview with Mainers for Health Care (Yes on 2) campaign manager Jennie Pirkl on the Beacon podcast this week, and something she said got me thinking.

She reminded me that the best evidence we have indicates that about 157 Mainers die every year we fail to accept federal funding to expand health coverage through Medicaid. Over the last few years, we’ve seen it happen. We know some of their names. We’ve read their obituaries.

157 people a year over the next couple decades is more than 3,000 lives that could be saved and only 220,000 people voted in the last odd-year referendum election.

So, if Question 2 passes with a bare majority, it will save about one life for every 35 votes.

35 votes! That’s one radio ad! That’s a couple shifts of knocking on doors!

This election matters and it has never been easier to make a difference. You could literally save someone’s life. Visit www.mainersforhealthcare.org to give some money or volunteer right now.

Also on Beacon recently:

Thanks as always for your feedback and for sharing these pieces on social media.

Keep up the fight!

-Mike

Mike Tipping
MPA Communications Director
mike@mainepeoplesalliance.org

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LePage cuts last direct ties with tribes on public health

Gov. Paul LePage’s administration has cut off state funding that the four federally recognized Native American tribes in Maine were using to plan an expansion of addiction treatment and mental health care in their communities.

The move comes six years after Maine started including the tribes in state-funded efforts to combat major health problems. Tribal leaders now worry that recent initiatives to develop an addiction treatment center serving tribal members, improve life for seniors, and tackle other health challenges in the tribal communities in eastern and northern Maine could stall.

The public health work “was beginning to have some positive results, and, now, all of a sudden, it’s gone,” said Theodore Bear Mitchell I, a former Penobscot Indian Nation representative in the Maine Legislature.

Compared with Maine’s population, tribal members face higher rates of diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure; they have markedly higher smoking and heavy drinking rates; and they have lower life expectancy.

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LePage said 7,600 Mainers fought for the Confederacy. It was maybe 30.

This recruiting sign, which came from a Kennebunk recruiting office for a Civil War regiment formed in 1864, was on display at the Maine State Museum in 2014. (BDN file photo)

Calling himself “a history buff,” Gov. Paul LePage revised Civil War history as we know it on Tuesday saying “7,600 Mainers fought for the Confederacy.”

Approximately 30 people are confirmed to have gone from Maine to the Confederacy, including students who left Bowdoin College in Brunswick and what is now Colby College in Waterville to fight, but they could have been from other parts of the country.

Maine’s history as one of the proudest Union states is well-documented. It sent about 73,000 people to war — a higher proportion than any other state — and more than 9,000 died, though there were some pockets of Southern sympathizers.

A few men with Maine ties became Confederate generals, including the Leeds-born Danville Leadbetter, the Avon-born Zebulon York and Josiah Gorgas, who controlled the Kennebec Arsenal in Augusta from 1856 to 1858.

But those three hardly qualified as Mainers at the time they joined the rebels. Leadbetter went to the South originally as a U.S. Army officer. York joined as a Louisiana plantation owner. Gorgas was moved from Maine to other assignments before quitting the Army and going to Alabama to fight the Union.

LePage also said on WVOM the war was “a property rights issue” when it began, saying Lincoln made it about slavery “to a great degree,” but Elizabeth Leonard, a Colby College history professor, said the governor “is wrong there, too.”

Slaves were property then and Southern states’ right to slavery was a major issue of the 1860 election, which was narrowly won by Lincoln in a crowded field. More than 62 percent of Mainers voted for him, a percentage topped by only three other states. Mainer Hannibal Hamlin was Lincoln’s first vice president.