MMC Opposes Portland Zoning Referendum; Supports Medicaid Expansion

November 02, 2017

As the state’s leading provider of tertiary care services, Maine Medical Center is focused on proving safe, high-quality, and affordable patient care. With our patients’ best interests at heart, our organization has made the thoughtful decision to take a position on two important issues that voters in Maine and Portland will be asked to decide on Nov. 7.

We hope you will review these two issues closely as they are both labeled Question 2, although one is a statewide referendum, (Medicaid expansion) and the other a Portland City Ballot Measure (zoning changes).

We support voting YES on Citizen’s Initiative Question 2: An Act To Enhance Access to Affordable Health Care. It continues to be clear that passing Medicaid expansion will bring real benefits to Maine that far outweigh the costs. With Medicaid expansion, nearly 80,000 low-income Maine people will gain access to affordable health care coverage. This will translate directly into better health and clinical outcomes for these individuals, many of whom are our patients. This coverage will also help address one of the most common financial challenges for health providers and hospitals across the state. With the federal government picking up no less than 90 percent of the cost of expansion, we believe this initiative is good for Maine’s health, our economy and our health sector. Please consider voting Yes on the statewide Question 2.

We support voting NO on City Ordinance Question 2: An amendment to strengthen zoning protection by allowing resident participation in proposed zoning changes. Last year, Maine Medical Center announced a $512 million expansion plan that would significantly increase our number of single bed rooms, modernize procedure and surgical suites, make our emergency department more efficient and improve the already high quality of care we provide. That announcement was heralded almost universally among our employees, patients and the community. Indeed, after a year of reviews and modifications, state health regulators recently approved our plan and the Portland City Planning Board recommend it for review by the Portland City Council later this month. Unfortunately, Portland Question 2 would stop any project with a zoning change attached to it if only 25 percent of registered voters who live within 500 feet of that project – including our proposed expansion – sign a petition. And because the city charter mandates that new ordinances cannot be amended for five years, it could realistically be nearly 10 years before we open the doors for our new hospital if Question 2 is passed. Please consider voting No on the Portland Question 2.