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Thousands in ME Still Without Healthcare Coverage

October 3, 2011

PORTLAND, Maine - About 10 percent of the people in Maine have no health care coverage, according to the new American Community Survey. The report, based on U.S. Census data, shows that 89 percent of residents and 96 percent of children in Maine had health insurance coverage in 2010.

Victoria Bonney, communications manager with Healthcare for All, says the better the numbers, the better the quality of life for multitudes of people across the state.

"Some people are catching diagnosis of cancer much earlier; other people are receiving public health and preventative measures that they never thought they could have before."

Despite thousands still being uninsured, Maine does better than many other states. Nationally, health care coverage for adults under age 65 is close to 78 percent, and ranges as low as 65 percent in Texas and 67 percent in Nevada.

Bonney says when employers and people look for a place to relocate, the health care picture is a huge factor in the decision-making process.

"That's a significant difference, and it's attractive to employers, it's attractive to families, individuals, and we're proud to be in that state."

Bonney added that research indicates quality of life in a state is closely tied to health care options, and Maine and other states could benefit from a law similar to the reforms passed in Massachusetts.

"If they were to expand their coverage options - whether through employer-based health insurance options or through the state or other means - that will change their quality of life and improve it greatly."

Maine's neighbor, Massachusetts, had the best numbers in the nation - with nearly everyone insured under the state's health care reform laws - followed by Vermont.

The report is available at www.census.gov.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - ME