The Maine Republican Party continues to play politics with peoples’ health. Governor Janet Mills yesterday made a major announcement aimed at boosting the state’s health care workforce with several new initiatives through her Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, initiatives that were welcomed by prominent health care organizations in Maine:
- Darcy Shargo, Maine Primary Care Association CEO: “This investment gives health care providers a much-needed boost of hope.”
- Angela Westhoff, President and CEO of the Maine Health Care Association: “These are important first steps in addressing Maine’s health care shortage.”
- Chuck Hayes, president and CEO of Maine General Medical Center: “That’s why the resources the governor is talking about today is so important: Reducing the financial barriers to health care education is critical.”
But Republicans continue to prioritize political gamesmanship over saving lives, slamming the announcement and the Governor’s common-sense vaccine requirement for healthcare workers, even when the state's largest health care employers already had their own vaccine mandates – and asked the Governor to implement a statewide requirement.
Republicans are also ignoring the fact that the Governor’s vaccine requirement is supported by the public health experts like the Maine Hospital Association, the Maine Health Care Association, and the state's largest hospital systems – because they know vaccines are critical to protecting the health of their workers and patients. Gov. Mills’ public safety measures are also supported by the federal government, which will soon be requiring all healthcare workers to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Governor’s bold initiative to strengthen the healthcare industry was also praised by the Portland Press Herald Editorial Board who applauded Governor Mills for “rightly working with the industry to beat longstanding national workforce trends” and implementing a plan that “moves Maine in the right direction.”
Vaccination rates among healthcare workers, EMS, and others have jumped since the governor’s announcement, demonstrating its success. Additionally, both Federal and State courts have turned back legal challenges to the governor’s requirement.
“More than one million Maine people have been vaccinated in the fight against COVID-19,” said Drew Gattine, Chair of the Maine Democratic Party. “That’s because they know that getting vaccinated is the best and most effective way out of this pandemic, and the longer Maine Republicans make it harder to get people vaccinated, the closer they come to making themselves the anti-vaccination party. In playing politics with peoples’ health, Republicans are choosing to be part of the problem, rather than part of the solution, and Maine people will only suffer as a result.”