February 18, 2018 Downeast Minutes

Maine AllCare Down East Chapter, 2/18/18 meeting minutes

Blue Hill Library, 4 – 5:30

Attending: Betsy Braunhut, Hunt Gressitt, Robert Grant, Lynn Cheney, David Jolly, Caroline Werth, Kate O’Dell, Ted Fletcher, Bonnie Preston, Joe Lendvai, Tom Van Buren, Walter Kumiega, Paul Kelly, Betsy Armstrong

Minutes: Joe Lendvai


Approve minutes. One correction. Passed.

Treasurer’s Report:  Chapter funds $0 (MAC Board holding $1054.55 in funds restricted for use by Downeast Chapter.)

Reports on events

Blue Hill Congo church showing of FIX IT, 25 people present, including 2 doctors. Had dessert, was very popular. Major question: “Who will pay for it (universal health care)?” With many savings from shifting to single payer. Concern about ‘consolidation of providers.’

Legislative Task Force meeting updates

Hunt Gressitt

–Mental health, drug rehab short comings

– Rates are set on based on geography and age; for the 4 areas in Maine (we are in the most expensive area), in 2015-2016 federal govt. chipped in nothing, in 2014 chipped in only 12%.

– Medicare reimburses 82% of cost of care; Medicaid pays 70% (private payers make up the rest).

– No gatekeeper in ER for Medicaid patients; Maine has no “Medicaid DISH,” aka disproportionate share. Malpractice costs are not part of care.

– 2018: $1065.05 region 4; out of pocket $14,700 maximum

– Multi-employer welfare association; if self insured must be regulated, etc… 4 programs in Maine, car dealers, municipalities, bankers, (reinsurance is part of it…)

– Rebecca Speary, EMMC— 160 -180,000 are uninsured — gave $460 million in charity care, $83 million in bad debt

– Maine Care can sign up patients after the fact….by financial counselors — they are “501r compliant…,”

– EMHS has over 200 employees dealing with billing only

– Economic impact — low income Mainers 2x likely to be diabetic, drug addicts, etc.,

– Steve Butterfield: “transparency has improved”; as out pocket increases, care less likely affordable

– US uses less healthcare services than other countries

– decreasing number of primary care providers

– “Travel medicine” is increasing (Thailand, etc.)

– Where to now—create model; have universal care; expand Medicare (incrementally); etc.

– Task force members will fill out their priorities and share them at next meeting

Notes from others:

16 member panel, half conservative — half liberal; they listened

Joe Lendvai plans to drive to March 2nd Task Force meeting in Augusta. Betsy Braunhut will go separately.

Business Partner Strategy: Lynn – Our chapter set goal of 50 businesses signing support statements. (BH wine shop, Borealis Press, Brian Van Emmerick and Wendy Alpaugh dentists, Ellen Best attorney, Surrey Music Therapy, etc., all gathered by Lynn)

Downeast Chapter goals: 6 documentary showings (Caroline Werth: have other churches show films, just to INFORM not to endorse automatically).

Next showing of Big Pharma will be at the BH Congo church on Monday, February 26th at 6pm with Joe Lendvai as discussion moderator.

Community Compass may sponsor film showing


Discussion of recent Amazon, etc. health care plans: Can the Amazon Berkshire-Hathaway, JPMorgan health care initiative bring positive change? A sign of the times…
Walter Kumiega: system is really broken. Bezos and new technology may be driving change.

MAC table at Dems caucus: Who wants to table at Democratic Caucus on March 4th in Blue Hill–yellow cards…? Joe may set up a table in Brooklin at Democratic Caucus.


Dinner & Movie (BigPharma), Blue Hill Congo Church*, 2/26 5:30 pm. Organizer is Kate Hunt.
*meal from Simmering Pot (closes 6PM) – or brown bag


Set up monthly donation to MAC before next meeting, if financially feasible; can be any amount–$5/month helps.

Seek business endorsements as noted in BH CoC list before next meeting; can also go to businesses not on the list!

Lynn Cheney