October 22, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) released the first in a series of videos highlighting the benefits the Affordable Care Act has created for Maine people. Each of the videos will feature Senator King hearing directly from Maine people about their personal experiences with the law, which has helped thousands of Maine people access health coverage; each of the stories were submitted to Senator King’s website earlier this month. Today’s video features Dr. Garreth Debiegun, President of the Maine Chapter of the American College of Emergency Room Physicians, who shares his frontline perspective on the importance of affordable healthcare. The video series comes days before the Senate will vote on the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, and mere weeks before the Court hears oral arguments on the future of the ACA.
“For more than a decade, the Affordable Care Act has helped hundreds of thousands of Maine people access affordable, life-saving health insurance,” said Senator King. “Today, there are nearly 62,000 Maine people utilizing the Medicaid expansion, more than 75,000 people who secure coverage through the ACA’s Marketplace, and a whopping 225,000 Mainers under the age of 65 living with pre-existing conditions who don’t have to worry about being denied coverage. In the coming days, I’ll be highlighting stories from Maine people who reached out to my office in order to share their personal experiences with the law. Each of these stories hammers home that this is truly a matter of life-and-death – and hopefully puts a human face on the stories my colleagues are ignoring as they rush through this Supreme Court nomination and put health care at risks for millions.”
In this series, Senator King will hear from constituents Karen Wentworth, a cancer survivor; Francesca Basile, a young professional at a small firm and volunteer healthcare advocate; Wayne St. Peter, a self-employed tennis instructor; and Greg Rossel, a self-employed boat-builder.
During the upcoming Supreme Court hearings, the Trump Administration will argue that the law should be entirely repealed based on provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. If the Trump Administration is successful, millions of Americans – including several Maine people interviewed by Senator King for this series – who rely on the ACA’s Marketplace and protections for pre-existing conditions will have their insurance revoked in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this month, Senator King joined Maine parents and patients for a virtual conversation to discuss the harm that a repeal of the ACA could have on hundreds of thousands of Maine people. He also published an op-ed in the Portland Press Herald and the Bangor Daily News, emphasizing the harm that may be done to hundreds of thousands of Maine people if a Supreme Court Justice – who may be the deciding vote on this case – is rushed through before the election.
Senator King has been a vocal proponent of protecting and improving the Affordable Care Act, which has helped millions of Americans access healthcare. In July 2018, Senator King joined a group of his colleagues to introduce a resolution that would have authorized the Senate Legal Counsel to intervene in Texas v. United States, and in December 2018 he joined a group of Senate colleagues to call on President Trump to condemn the resulting decision in the case. He has also fought the Administration’s various attempts to sabotage the healthcare law, urged Maine people to sign up for health insurance during the shortened Open Enrollment period, and met with Maine people around the state to discuss the ACA’s importance to their lives.
The full interview with Dr. Debiegun can be watched HERE.