Maine small business owners make the economic case for Question 2

  • Posted on: 4 October 2017
  • By: Will

This article originally appeared on Maine Beacon.

More than 150 Maine small businesses have now publicly endorsed a “Yes” vote on Question 2, the ballot measure to accept federal funding to expand Medicaid. Members of the Maine Small Business Coalition gathered at the Hyatt Place Portland hotel yesterday to announce their support for the referendum, which they say would create an economic boost for the state.

“I support expanding Medicaid because I believe there to be compelling moral, philosophical and business reasons demanding it,” said Tim Soley, owner of the Hyatt Place. “Under Medicaid expansion there would be an additional 70,000 Mainers who would have consistent access to quality healthcare. That’s 70,000 people who would be able to get the care they need, without being crippled by costs.”

Soley noted that by not expanding Medicaid, Maine is turning down more than $500 million in federal funding each year, money that would help to create good-paying health care jobs, especially in rural areas.

“I’m a licensed clinical professional counselor, and I own and operate a private behavioral health practice in Yarmouth,” said Cate DiMarzio. “Expanding Medicaid will mean more Mainers can afford care and will mean more jobs for health care professionals like me. The Maine Center for Economic Policy estimates that expanding MaineCare would create over 3,000 new, permanent jobs in Maine.”

Business owners endorsing the campaign stressed both the economic and moral reasons for supporting the measure, which passed in the Maine Legislature five times but was vetoed each time by Governor Paul LePage.

“Too many Mainers currently can’t afford the basic health care coverage that means they can afford regular checkups and other types of preventative care,” said Nate Barr said of Zootility Tools in Portland. “Instead they are forced to wait until they get very sick and go to the hospital, where care is much more expensive, and we all bear the cost. Expanding will help to hold down health care costs for everyone.”