“New Mainers are particularly likely to work in grocery stores and care homes, restaurant kitchens and hotels — many of the industries which are currently struggling to find workers,” said James Myall, an economic policy analyst at the Maine Center for Economic Policy. “At the same time, health concerns are the leading reason many Mainers either aren’t working at all, or not working as many hours as they might like. Ensuring that new arrivals have access to healthcare makes it more likely that they will be able to contribute fully to our economy in the future.”
Myall also said that the pandemic has made it more clear than ever how our collective safety and economic recovery are tied to each person’s ability to get to the doctor or fill a prescription.
“We know that COVID-19 spread particularly quickly among low-income Americans, often people of color, because they were more likely to work in close-contact service jobs, and because they often had underlying health conditions that were untreated,” he said. “And especially in the first year of the pandemic, Black, Latino, and Indigenous people had some of the highest mortality rates from the virus, for similar reasons.”