Canadians Pay Taxes For Universal Health Care, And Now They’re Richer Than Us

Philip Caper | Bangor Daily News | June 20, 2013

I’ve been watching with some dismay the wrestling match going on between the governor and the Maine Legislature over the opportunity offered by the federal Affordable Care Act to expand our MaineCare program.

Proponents of expansion of MaineCare make their argument on both moral and economic grounds. Such expansion would provide health care coverage for almost 70,000 low-income Mainers who will otherwise receive no assistance from the ACA. More coverage would result in better management of our burgeoning level of chronic illness as our population ages. That will drive down the use of expensive crisis-oriented emergency services as well as the illness-inducing stress produced by out-of-control health care bills in low-income patients already afflicted by poor health.

Since 100 percent of the costs of the proposed expansion would be borne by the federal government for at least the first three years of the program (gradually reduced to 90 percent by 2020), MaineCare expansion under the ACA would also provide significant economic benefits to Maine in the form of federal dollars and the jobs they will create in every county in the state. [...]