Testimony of Bonny Rodden In Support of Funding for Medicaid Expansion

Senator Hamper, Representative Gattine and distinguished members of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee,

My name is Bonny Rodden and I am the president of the Maine Council of Churches. We are an organization of eight denominations with 550 churches in Maine that have different religious traditions but share the same values.

One of those values is that everyone should have access to healthcare, regardless of their financial status.

You may have heard stories in the Bible about miracles that Jesus performed.

In one, he tells a paralyzed man lying flat on his back to “get up, pick up your bed and go home.” He tells an official distraught over his dying son to “go home because your son is alive and well.” He heals lepers, the blind, and epileptics. And on the night before he dies, he even re-attaches the ear of the servant of the High Priest who plans to crucify him.

You may notice he doesn’t require them to have a job to be healed.

He doesn’t require them to have filled out reams of paperwork correctly.

He doesn’t discriminate on the basis of financial need: he heals both the poor and those with money. He even heals a servant of someone who wants him dead.

Whether you believe in the Bible or not, this compassion for our fellow brothers and sisters is a value honored by Christians, Jews and many other faiths. It is not right to deprive 70,000 of them the healthcare they are entitled to by law and the will of the voters.

The money is there – that is not the issue. We urge you to appropriate the necessary funding to begin implementation of Medicaid expansion and, most importantly, to do whatever you can to force the Governor to get on board.

To do otherwise is unconscionable. 70,000 of our neighbors are waiting. For some, it’s a matter of life or death.