The Maine State House is seen at sunrise on Dec. 2, 2020, in Augusta. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

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I grew up in a household in rural Maine where my dad was the sole doctor for the community. He was my role model, and I followed in his footsteps. Over my nearly four decades as a family doctor, medicine has grown more sophisticated and much more expensive. Even patients with top-of-the-line insurance are vulnerable to health care related financial insecurity.

Too often, people are forced to delay or deny themselves care because they can’t afford to take time off from work. When each paycheck means the difference between having food or heat, their health can be forced to the back burner. I took an oath to care for my patients, and that includes advocating for their needs.

That is why I’m asking Maine legislators and Gov. Janet Mills to finally pass a comprehensive paid family and medical leave policy. This policy would provide workers with around 12 weeks of paid leave a year to care for a member of their family or address a personal medical issue. It would allow them to seek care, get treatment and heal without risking their livelihood. This is good policy. It is sound policy, and it is necessary policy. And it needs to be passed, for the health of our patients, their families and our communities.

Noah Nesin