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Politics

Bangor Council to Consider Opposing Any Repeal of Obamacare

Members of the Bangor City Council are weighing whether the city should formally oppose efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Councilors are discussing whether a letter to Maine’s Congressional Delegation is needed to put the city’s position on record. Bangor Mayor Joe Baldacci says President Donald Trump’s plan to shelve the national health insurance program is actually a local issue.

“We have major medical employers in Bangor,” he says. “St. Joe’s alone, as estimated by the Maine Hospital Association, would lose $10 million a year, so Bangor overall would stand to lose tens of millions, and that will cost jobs, and overall it’s going to be very bad for our local economy.”

Baldacci says many Bangor residents will be left without health care if the ACA is repealed without an adequate substitute plan to take its place.

“We probably have 1,500-2,000 people that are receiving subsidies under Obamacare who will lose coverage, and we all benefit from certain provisions such as the ban on preexisting conditions as well as the extension of insurance to 26-year-olds,” he says.

Over the last six years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has credited the Affordable Care Act with reducing the number of uninsured Americans from 41 million to 29 million people nationwide, including approximately 22,000 Mainers.

The council is expected to review its options during a work session Monday evening.