State House Screenings Personalize Loss of Health Care

Four Mainers who are directly-affected by the delay in the acceptance of federal funding to maintain and expand MaineCare coverage were featured in short videos released today in a State House screening hosted by the Maine People's Alliance.

The clips were shot on location all over the state by MPA communications associate Andrew Francis and show the subjects speaking in their own words about what health coverage through MaineCare has meant for them and the consequences to their health and their families if the Legislature fails to accept federal funds.

Stories include:

    • Tom Benne, a farmer and handyman from Whitefield who wouldn’t be working today without a surgery he was able to obtain through MaineCare and who lost coverage on December 31st. 

    • Sara Hotchkiss, a weaver from Waldoboro who lost her health insurance three years ago and fears that any illness will mean the loss of her home, looms and livelihood.

    • Richard Holt, a lobsterman from South Portland who has relied on MaineCare to treat his chronic injuries and likely won’t be able to continue working now that he has lost his health care coverage.

    • Gail MacLean, a farmer and carpenter from Gray who grows food, keeps livestock and boards horses and who worries she could lose everything she's built if she gets sick.

"I was on MaineCare for a little over three years, until this month. It allowed me to do the work I needed to do and know that if something happened to me I could get the care I needed," said MacLean, who spoke at the screening. "Now I am tip-toeing around the farm, knowing that if I get hurt or sick, I could lose my home and all that I have worked for my entire life."

Following the screening, YouTube versions of the videos will be promoted through online ads in key legislative districts as lawmakers continue to debate accepting federal funding.

"I hope every legislator in Maine watches these videos and talks to the people in their own districts who are being denied health care coverage right now. We need to make sure they know that not only will accepting federal funds and expanding health coverage create jobs and provide an economic boost, but it will make an immediate difference for real people who are struggling to get by," said Maine People's Alliance health care organizer Jennie Pirkl. "Lives are literally on the line in this debate."