Radio Address: Sen. Gratwick urges Mainers to shop for health care before open enrollment ends Dec. 15

Posted: November 17, 2017 | Senator Gratwick, Weekly Radio Address
Share this post:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Reddit


Good day, this is Senator Geoff Gratwick, from Bangor. Thanks for tuning in.

All Americans have a right to affordable, quality health care. As a physician, I’ve seen the difference between those who have health care and those who go without all too often. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen minor problems develop into serious illnesses simply because patients didn’t receive the timely care they needed.

That’s why it’s so important that we spread the word about the current open enrollment period for health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act.

Mainers who need insurance through the ACA have until December 15 to sign up for coverage next year.  That includes everyone who doesn’t get insurance through their work, a publicly funded program like MaineCare or Medicare, or their family. Even those who signed up in the past should still visit healthcare.gov because plans change each year. If you need help finding a plan, call 1-800-965-7476. Get a pen because I am going to repeat those numbers in just a minute.

Please remember that despite all the bluster and rhetoric in Washington, the ACA is working. Its record speaks for itself. Since it was passed, the percentage of uninsured Americans has dropped and it has helped more than 20 million Americans – including 80,000 Mainers – afford health insurance.  

Because of the ACA, more people are seeing their doctor for check-ups, getting preventative care, and taking their medicines regularly. Fewer people are skipping needed medical care simply because of cost.

While premiums for some plans on the ACA marketplace are increasing, it’s important to know this: The law requires subsidies to grow along with premiums so that plans remain affordable.

Because of growing subsidies, many Mainers will find plans available at no monthly cost. Those plans are still available on the Marketplace at healthcare.gov until the open enrollment period ends on December 15.

A critical pillar of the ACA was the expansion of Medicaid, known here as MaineCare, which provides insurance to Americans with very low incomes. Unfortunately, Maine refused to expand MaineCare. Until now.

Voters approved MaineCare expansion on Election Day. That vote brings even more of the ACA’s benefits to our state, by providing insurance to another 70,000 Mainers. It will also contribute to economic growth. The economies in the 31 states that have already expanded Medicaid under the ACA have fared better than those in the states like ours that did not.

No law is perfect, and we still have a long way to go before Maine has a simple, affordable, quality health care system. But we are moving in the right direction. So join me in spreading the word about open enrollment.

Don’t delay! December 15 is just around the corner! Now, this is where you need your pen: Go to healthcare.gov or call 1-800-965-7476. Once again, that’s healthcare.gov, or call 1-800-965-7476.

Together, we are working to ensure that no Mainer is forced to choose between seeing a doctor and keeping food on the table. This is Senator Geoff Gratwick. Thanks for listening.

###