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FAQ flyer on single-payer bill

If health care is a right—and it is—the only honest response to the current crisis is the single-payer “Medicare For All” reform that would bring the United States in line with humane and responsible countries worldwide.
Source: The Nation, June 2, 2017 “The California Senate Just Passed Single-Payer Health Care"

Welcome Augusta Chapter

By Christopher Cayer, Statewide Organizer, Maine AllCare

Welcome Augusta Chapter
Attendees are all smiles at the first organizing meeting of the fledgling Maine AllCare Augusta Chapter.

Augusta ME – Wednesday, July 12, 2017 was Maine AllCare's first Augusta chapter meeting and it was a big success. I was expecting half a dozen people to show up but instead we filled the large study room at the Lithgow Library. They told us capacity was ten but we fit eighteen people in there!

We started the meeting by introducing each other. The group included business owners, political activists, healthcare professionals, and concerned citizens. We discussed the history of Maine AllCare, short-term and long-term plans, and our goals as a local chapter. At the next meeting, we will show a short movie and have a discussion about universal healthcare. Official minutes will be sent out in the next few days.

We still need to identify a few things before the next meeting, including the election of chapter leaders. Thank you so much for your dedication to this cause! I look forward to building on the excitement and success of last nights meeting. For more information please write to ccayer@maineallcare.org.

 

Portland FILM & FORUM on the future of health care in Maine

Portland FILM & FORUM on the future of health care in Maine

June 6, 2016 – Maine AllCare Board Secretary Delene Perley and supporter Diana Tundy of Portland are ready to welcome the audience for the Portland Public Library screening of Now Is The Time documentary. The film is about the current, costly and complex health care system in the US, one that is burdensome for businesses, and unaffordable for tens of millions of Americans, even to those with health insurance. Importantly, the film also proposes a plan of action to solve this growing crises. About 100 people came to the screening that included an extensive and vibrant Q&A with an expert panel.

Please contact us to help organize a health care Film and Forum in your community.

Portland FILM & FORUM on the future of health care in Maine
Some of the audience at the June 6th screening of NOW IS THE TIME documentary in Rines Auditorium of the Portland Public Library.

 

Together, we’re making progress in advancing universal health care for ALL Maine

Augusta ME May 9, 2017 – NEWSFLASH – At their work session, the members of the Joint Legislative Committee on Insurance and Financial Services voted unanimously “ought to pass” in support LD 1274, The Healthy Maine Act, including and amendment for a comprehensive financial study to help define specific costs for a universal system. (click on photo to see more).

universal health care for ALL Maine

May 4th rally in Augusta for universal health care by Maine AllCare and coalition partners including Maine State Nurses Association, Souther Maine Workers Center. About a hundred people gathered to hear speakers from many organizations who support universal health care.

Augusta May 4, 2017 – Over 100 people came to Augusta to rally in support of LD 1274, An Act To Promote Universal Health Care, Including Dental, Vision and Hearing Care. And over 90 people submitted testimony, most in person, for the bill, and apparently only one person spoke out against it. Dr. William Clark was the emcee to the event and got things rolling by introducing a host of speakers, including Senator Geoff Gratwick, Ronald Flannery of the Southern Maine Workers Center, Cokie Giles RN, co-president of the National Nurses Organizing Committee, National Nurses United, Nathalie Arruda, a mom and an activist and many others.

The enthusiasm and general optimism of the crowd was energizing, along with the spring sunshine. Please stay tuned. We’ll keep you informed on the next steps.

Heidi Brooks sponsors single-payer health care bill for Maine

By Steve Collins, Staff Writer
May 8, 2017 Lewiston Sun Journal

AUGUSTA — As Congress debates the merits of the Affordable Care Act and its potential successor, some lawmakers think the time is ripe to create a single-payer health care system in Maine. “Here in Maine many people are struggling to get the care they need when and where they need it. Universal health care ideally includes everyone in an equitable fashion,” said Rep. Heidi Brooks, D-Lewiston, the sponsor of a measure that calls on the state to adopt a single-payer system by 2020. (read more)

 

Hello Ellsworth – All smiles for universal health care

Hello Ellsworth – All smiles for universal health care

Ellsworth – Members of Maine AllCare demonstrate their support for publicly funded universal health care that covers every person in Maine. About twenty supporters stood on the Union River Bridge in Ellsworth on Saturday noon March 25, 2017 – from left to right are Holly Duesenberry, Jean Rohrer, Doris Plummer and Sarah Whelan. During the hour-long event virtually every passing car honked in a supportive way, with waves and big smiles. (Click on the photo above to see more pictures.) Photo by Bruce Becque.

 

People’s Forum on Health Care

March 27, 2017 – Portland ME

People’s Forum on Health Care

The recent People's Forum on Health Care was a powerful event. We want to thank everyone who shared their stories. We also want to thank Representatives Mike Sylvester, Ben Collings, Andrew McLean, Rachel Talbot Ross and Maureen Terry, Senator Ben Chipman, and Travis Kennedy from Senator Angus King's office for witnessing people's stories and affirming their belief that health care is a human right.

Cait Vaughn from the SMWC got the stories written down and collected them. A number of challenged people, most of whom got help from family to pay off the thousands of dollars they were charged for needed medical care to save their lives, the ACA helping them to a point.

The event was held at First Parish Church at 425 Congress Street in Portland, sponsored by the Southern Maine Workers’ Center, (press release may be viewed here.) Maine State Nurses Association and Maine AllCare.

Delene Perley, Board member of Maine AllCare gave a speech sharing her personal experiences at a Portland food pantry. She made the connection between the current political chaos caused in part by the failure of the Republican so-called American Health Care Act (24 million American would have lost their health insurance) and the ongoing challenges faced by people who cannot afford to pay their health care bills and rely on food pantry support to get by. You may read Delene Perley’s speech here.

 

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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Community screening of documentary bring out ideas to move forward

Fix It Healthcare movie

Rockland ME – On May 18, a gorgeous spring evening, the Midcoast Peace and Justice Group sponsored a showing of FIX IT Healthcare at the Tipping Point at the First Universalist Church.  About 50 people attended and participated in lively discussion with 3 panel members--Pinny Beebe-Center, State Representative, Rockland/ Owls Head, Jonathan Fulford, small business owner and Maine AllCare Board Member, and Bill Clark, retired physician and leader of MidCoast Chapter, Maine AllCare. Perhaps not surprisingly, no one in the room spoke against the concept of publicly supported, privately delivered comprehensive healthcare for all Mainers--indeed Improved Medicare for All in the USA.  The big and recurrent themes were as follows: 

  1. "What can I do to move this idea forward?" 
  2. "How could we ever make the change from our profit-driven system to a patient oriented one?" 
  3. "Can Maine do this alone?"

The panelists agreed that  the answers were, generally speaking,

  1. "Be active and focused on this issue with friends, organizations and your legislators;"
  2. "Gradually, in a stepwise manner, as soon as we have a go-ahead from legislation--whether through Citizen Initiative or actions by legislators;" 
  3. "YES! And, Maine could lead the way (tho' California and New York are further along right now)."

As the hour advanced, ambivalence reared its head- keep talking, or go home?  Finally, the conveners from Peace and Justice wisely declared that we should rest well and get active tomorrow! 

Half (or more) of this enthusiastic crowd went home with "Healthcare 4 All Maine" buttons on their shirts, 19 new people signed up with Maine AllCare (3 others signed, but were already in the MAC data base!) and 5 indicated that they would like to join a local chapter. Chapters provide support and motivation for specific actions such as letter writing, legislator and personal contacts. Maine AllCare will work with interested folks to get an area chapter started to build momentum and action.   ONWARD!!

If you would like to organize a screening of FIX IT, an exceptional documentary about what business owners can do to reform health care – make it universal, simple and less costly, please email us at info@maineallcare.org. We’ll be glad to help, including providing speakers to facilitate an informed discussion.

Submitted by William Clark MD 

 

Aroostook activists rally!

PNHP, Physicians for a National Health Program, issued a call for a day of action for Improved Medicare for All to take place on Saturday April 8, 2017 the first day of Congressional Recess.

Aroostook activists rally!

In response to this call, Aroostook activists rallied to parade in front of Senator King's Presque Isle office and around The Aroostook Medical Center. From there, they traveled to Representative Poliquin's Presque Isle office on Main Street and finally to Senator Collin's office in Caribou for repeat parading there. Since the offices were all closed, Alice Bolstridge plans to send pictures and a letter directly to each of these legislators. Enthusiastic rally participants were Shelly Mountain, Marie Faggiole, Jane Caulfield, Lorette Adams, Darrell Adams, Stan Maynard, Gail Maynard, Jamie Smith, and Alice Bolstridge. Reactions were about as usual for such events in this area, some horn honking and thumbs up. We have a ways to go to arouse the public.

 

Editor’s note: The Congressional Budget Office, CBO, just scored the new Republican health care bill, the so-called American Health Care Act. The result: 14 million Americans will lose their health insurance in 2018; and 24 million by 2026. That would bring the total uninsured to 52 million people.

In her essay, patient activist Donna Smith nails the problem and offers a solution.

No Politico Wants to Know: We Are Patients

By Donna Smith - Common Dreams - March 11, 2017

It is hell out here for patients right now in America.  There may be a swampy, dirty-flash flood going on in D.C. right now, but there are precious few elected officials who see patients as patients.  We are health industry consumers.  We are political props for both sides of another ridiculous, costly and futile battle over who will please the industry and its political champions enough — who will grow profits across the board.  Patients are on the losing end of this upheaval. 

Patients haven’t had access to our doctors without the elephant in the room for a very long time now, and that elephant is greed, plain and simple.  Until we decide that healthcare access through the expansion of Medicare is the best way to finally re-engage around healthcare for patients who need it, we will fail. Until we move away from greed-driven, winner-takes-all motivation for measuring health system success, we will not break the cycle of going from one dysfunctional model to another.

(Read the entire essay here)

People's Forum on the Human Right to Health Care

February 18, 2017 RALLY in Portland

A diverse group of over 300 people gathered at Portland’s Monument Square for a noon rally on Saturday, February 18th in support of health care as a human right. Coalition sponsors included the Southern Maine Workers Center (SMWC) and Maine State Nurses Association (MSNA) and Maine AllCare. Ronald Flannery from SMWC served as master of ceremony. Marilyn McWilliams spoke for Maine AllCare about our vision for publicly funded, guaranteed health care for all.

After the speeches the group marched to Sen. Susan Collins’ office at 1 Canal Plaza to request a meeting with the Senator to discuss the best and most economical way to achieve guaranteed healthcare for every Maine resident. They invited the Senator, along with other public officials, to March 27th meeting. Details are being worked out. We will keep you informed.

People's Forum on the Human Right to Health Care

 

Proposal for true "patient freedom” – Healthcare for all Maine

February 16, 2017

We of Maine AllCare believe in Healthcare for Everyone in Maine.  Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have seemingly surrendered on any national initiative to cover all Americans. One state will probably lead the way by covering its residents. Why not Maine?

America treats healthcare as a commodity like automobiles, where profits, return to investors and sales and marketing initiatives are king.  Yet millions who cannot afford this commodity suffer untreated illnesses, even death, or financial ruin due to healthcare costs. Economic impacts such as lost workdays cost employers and employees billions, and uncompensated care is crippling hospitals that are major employers. Universal healthcare coverage is more than an inspiration of morality, it is an economic necessity.

“The status quo is unsustainable, for patients, for workers and for employers" said Henk Goorhuis, MD, Board Chair of Maine AllCare at a recent national meeting of the activist organization ‘Healthcare Now.’” “Further, the ideas pushed by the Republican majority in Congress, which are based on even more privatization and patient cost-sharing, would only exacerbate our citizens’ healthcare access problems.” Available data show that this could mean an additional tens of thousands of unnecessary, preventable deaths, according to a January 23rd Washington Post article by NYU physicians David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler. Read More

 

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 — www.pnhp.org
  • Visit our websites regularly — www.maineallcare.org & www.philcaper.net 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 info@maineallcare.org and and put "Idea" in the Subject line. Thank you.