Por Alex Carter, Maine Equal Justice Policy Advocate 

O que significa para o Maine apoiar os imigrantes e aqueles que procuram um novo começo e segurança da perseguição, da guerra e da ditadura? É mais do que abrir as nossas portas – significa garantir que os recém-chegados tenham um teto sobre as suas cabeças, comida para comer, a capacidade de trabalhar e apoiar as suas famílias, e o acesso a serviços essenciais de saúde para o seu bem-estar físico e mental. No ano passado, a Governadora Janet Mills e a Legislatura do Maine expandiram o MaineCare para grávidas elegíveis para rendimentos e menores de 21 anos, independentemente do estatuto de imigrante. Isto significa que a partir de 1 de julho de 2022, mais dos residentes mais jovens e de baixos rendimentos do Maine serão elegíveis para se inscreverem para uma cobertura de saúde acessível através do MaineCare.

Se acha que você ou o seu filho podem tornar-se elegíveis este ano e tem dúvidas sobre a inscrição a partir de julho, por favor ligue para o Consumers for Affordable Health Care HelpLine em (800) 965-7476. Se acredita que foi injustamente negado ao MaineCare ou que tem dificuldade em inscrever-se, também pode contactar o Maine Equal Justice em (866) 626-7059. Este número inclui uma opção para selecionar o seu idioma preferido.

While the expansion of MaineCare to youth and pregnant people is cause for celebration, many immigrant adults still fall into the MaineCare coverage gap and cannot afford the healthcare they desperately need.  

There are two opportunities during this short legislative session to right this wrong!  

The first is the 2022 Supplemental Budget. Maine has a historic revenue surplus of approximately $1.233 million. A small portion of these funds could be used to extend MaineCare to adults who remain ineligible due to their immigration status, to provide cost-saving and lifesaving preventive, primary, and acute healthcare.  

In early March, the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee and the Health and Human Services Committee heard from members of the public on LD 1995, the Supplemental Budget bill. Hours of testimony on different parts of the budget included members of the public speaking passionately about the importance of healthcare coverage for immigrants.  

“As a mom, I feel anguish and the urgency to take care of myself so that I can better care for my family. Children’s physical, mental, and emotional health is also impacted by the well-being of their parents. MaineCare for everyone with low incomes, including all immigrants, will make us all healthier and stronger.” 

Maria Perez

The second opportunity to expand health care access for all Mainers is LD 718: An Act to Improve the Health of Maine Residents by Closing Coverage Gaps in the MaineCare Program and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. This bill first appeared last year. If passed and funded, LD 718 would extend MaineCare benefits to immigrant adults, irrespective of their immigration status. Learn more about the bill in our fact sheet, under the “policy/healthcare” on www.maineequaljustice.org.  

During last year’s public hearing for LD 718, immigrant community members and advocates told legislators their stories of pain and resilience and the impacts of lack of healthcare coverage on their lives, families, and businesses. 

Rosy Ontiveros, a resident of Lewiston who assists others in her community without health insurance explained, “It’s very difficult for all the people who don’t go to the doctor for fear of not being attended to because of lack of ability to pay. …We have many stories of people who have broken bones and, because of not having access to health insurance, they have not sought the necessary therapies needed and the pain they experience is constant.” 

Your voice really counts in making sure our neighbors, friends, and family who are immigrants have access to services like healthcare. Legislators need to know that their constituents support them when they do the right thing. To learn more and support LD 718, visit: maineequaljustice.org/get-involved/take-action/.  

As Rosa Ontiveros told the HHS Committee, “I trust in you, and I think with your help we can win this.”