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FAQ flyer on single-payer bill

President Obama gave a great speech this past week defending our dysfunctional system while once again dismissing single payer, yet he cited many deficiencies that would be adequately corrected only with comprehensive reform and not mere tweaks.
Comment by Don McCanne, MD – Published on the website

Struggling to Serve at the Nation’s Richest University

By Rosa Ines Rivera
October 24, 2016 in The New York Times

Editor’s note: This letter exemplifies why Maine allCare is fighting for universal, publicly funded health care here in Maine, and nationally. Please join our work by contacting a Chapter near you.

Cambridge, Mass. — I’ve been at Harvard University for 17 years, but I’ve never been in a classroom here. I’m a cook in the dining halls. I work in the cafeteria at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where every day I serve amazing students studying medicine, nutrition and child welfare, as well as the doctors and researchers who train them.

While I’ve earned no college credits here, I’ve had a lesson in hypocrisy.

On my way to work each morning, I pass a building with the inscription: “The highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being.” If Harvard believes this, why is the administration asking dining hall workers to pay even more for our health care even though some of us pay as much as $4,000 a year in premiums alone?

I serve the people who created Obamacare, people who treat epidemics and devise ways to make the world healthier and more humane. But I can’t afford the health care plan Harvard wants us to accept.

That’s why I have been on strike with 750 co-workers for more than two weeks. That’s why the other day, co-workers and I were arrested after we sat down in Harvard Square, blocking traffic, in an act of civil disobedience. And that’s why the medical school students, in their white coats, have been walking the picket line with us in solidarity.

The co-pays alone can be a problem. When a doctor told me my daughter had failed a hearing test and might need surgery, I thought about what care I could do without. I recently skipped an appointment to have a spot on my lung checked for cancer to save on the co-pays.

Medical students analyzed Harvard’s proposal and found that the cost of premiums alone could eat up almost 10 percent of my income. And Harvard wants to increase our co-pays for every single doctor visit to $25, from $15, for primary care and to $100, from zero, for outpatient hospital care and some tests. Some costs would be reimbursed for lower-income workers, but out-of-pocket expenses would still be hard to meet.

The students say that Harvard’s proposal is unaffordable for nearly all of us according to state government guidelines. If it goes through, I will keep avoiding the doctor to save that money for my kids’ co-pays. Any increase puts me at the breaking point.

Harvard is the richest university in the nation, with a $35 billion endowment. But I can’t live on what Harvard pays me. I take home between $430 and $480 a week, and this August, I fell behind on my $1,150 rent and lost my apartment. Now my two kids and I are staying with my mother in public housing, with all four of us sharing a single bedroom. I grew up in the projects and on welfare. I want my 8-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son to climb out of the cycle of poverty. But for most of my time at Harvard it’s been hard.

The average dining hall worker makes $31,193 a year, higher than other cafeterias in the area, but it still doesn’t go far around Boston. That’s why we’re asking for an annual salary of $35,000 for some financial stability, particularly since most dining halls are open only during the school year. Right now I’m lucky to work in one of the few cafeterias that’s open all year.

I know that health care costs are going up everywhere, and I don’t have all the answers. But there must be some way not to shift costs onto Harvard’s poorest workers.

If good health is truly “one of the fundamental rights of every human being,” then shouldn’t that also apply to the human beings working in Harvard’s cafeterias?

Rosa Ines Rivera, a member of Unite Here Local 26, is a dining hall worker at Harvard University.


Our new bumper stickers are here and ready to be mailed to you!

Please show your support for universal health care by making an online contribution of $4 or more and we’ll mail to you one of these bright, colorful 10x3 inch bumper stickers. HEALTH CARE FOR EVERYONE IN MAINE is a clear message to your community. It affirms that you support a transition to a publicly funded system of comprehensive care accessible to every person in our state – one that will improve both individual health and business productivity, and will costs less overall than what we are paying today.

We welcome contributions in any amount – they are tax deductible – but our main goal is to increase visible support in each community throughout our state.


'Maine' reasons for universal health care

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What Can Maine Doctors Do?

Return medicine to its healing roots — help educate and advocate for universal, single-payer health care that covers every Maine resident

  • Join Maine AllCare mailing list, and volunteer to help, including supporting financially
  • Join PNHP —
  • Visit our websites regularly — & for more information
  • Organize and make your voices heard through the Maine Medical Association
    • Doctors have lost influence during the past 30 years or so, but we are far from powerless – they don’t have much of a business without us!
    • Doctors are still influential – make your views known
  • Write op-eds and letters to the Editor of your local paper
  • Testify in person and in writing before the relevant legislative committees when legislation affecting health care is being considered. MAC can help organize these efforts
  • Organize speaking events directed at professions and lay audiences for Maine AllCare speakers
    • Grand rounds
    • Local and specialty medical societies
    • Community forums, church groups, Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, Chambers of Commerce

If you have ideas about how else we might advance the cause of universal health care here in Maine, please write to us at and and put "Idea" in the Subject line. Thank you.

Maine Health Insurance Premiums to Reach Record Highs in 2017

October 11, 2016 in Maine Public

PORTLAND, Maine — Health insurance premiums in Maine are poised to reach unprecedented highs in 2017, and small businesses are expected to be hardest hit as a result.

The Maine Bureau of Insurance reported that state-approved increases for this upcoming year average double-digits for all individual health plans and about half of all small group plans. The Portland Press Herald reports that because the increases vary significantly depending upon the provider, the most cost-effective plans for 2016 may not remain so next year.

The biggest increase in 2017 will be for individual plans offered by Community Health Options, which is raising rates by an average of 25.5 percent.

Rate increases for individual and small group plans are largely based on claims paid out by insurers during the prior year.


Mainers are paying less for energy and way more for health care

By Darren Fishell
October 4, 2016 in the Bangor Daily News

Mainers continued to pay less for gasoline and other energy last year as spending on health care continued to climb, according to the latest federal figures.

Spending Change graphic

The sudden drop in gasoline and energy spending by Maine households follows the global drop in oil prices and is in line with the rest of the country, where spending in that category dropped by about 24 percent in 2015, compared with 2014.

Compared with other states, however, Maine was still among the highest for per capita spending on gasoline and other energy in 2015, behind Wyoming and South Dakota.

In the past year, spending on food service and accommodations was the fastest-growing in Maine, matched by transportation services. But since 2000, health care has been the most consistently rising cost, based on the figures from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. (read story)


Editor's Note: Access to affordable health care continues to plague us as a nation. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tina Rosenberg writes in the NYTimes about the return of house calls which benefits patients and their families, and even saves money, but many cannot afford it – until we change the system.

Please share your thoughts with us about this old idea making full circle.

Reviving House Calls by Doctors

By Tina Rosenberg
September 27, 2016 in The New York Times

Surah Grumet used to be a family doctor at a clinic in the Bronx. “It always felt like I was trying to catch up,” she said. “I was always falling behind, and it was so stressful. And it was really hard to bring up my two girls, to be there for them, and still be able to practice medicine the way that I wanted to.”

Now, she lives in a suburb of Raleigh, N.C. She still practices medicine, but has no office or clinic. Instead, she works with a Durham-based practice called Doctors Making House Calls. (read more)


FIX IT – Healthcare at the Tipping Point a must see documentary for all Americans

FIX IT – Healthcare at the Tipping Point a must see documentary for all Americans

This documentary takes an in-depth look into how our dysfunctional health care system is damaging our economy, suffocating our businesses, discouraging physicians and negatively impacting on the nation's health, while remaining un-affordable for a third of our citizens. Produced by Richard Master, owner and CEO of MCS Industries, an Easton PA company.

My company now has to pay $1.5 million a year to provide access to health care for our workers and their dependents. When I investigated where all that money goes, I was shocked. I found that the first three cents of every premium dollar goes to the insurance agent who helps MCS select an insurance plan and negotiate rates with our insurer. The next 20 cents goes to the insurance company to help pay for its sales and marketing and other administrative functions, which includes the work of a huge staff that does nothing more than approve or deny care. Another 10 cents (at least) goes to cover what it costs doctors and hospitals to handle the massive amount of paper work and phone time made necessary by my insurance company’s pre-­approval demands, denials and other payment issues. That’s 33 cents of every premium dollar, 33 cents that has nothing to do with the delivery of health care.

Excerpt from a introductory letter by Richard Master

For arranging a FREE screening of this one hour documentary please email us.