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Testimony in Support of LD 57
Resolve, To Update the Study Regarding the Feasibility of Establishing a Single-payer Health Care System

Testimony by Anthony Zeli
Maine Labor Group on Health
efore the Insurance and Financial Services Committee of the Maine Legislature
February 9, 2011

The problems are well known. Health care costs and the number of uninsured continue to skyrocket. Every day Mainers pay more for health care, and receive less in return. State leadership on health care reform has never been more needed. While many aspects of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are a step in the right direction, these reforms will not create the quality, affordable, universal health care system that Maine needs.

It has been demonstrated across the world that the most cost-efficient and effect way to provide universal health care is some form of single-payer system. But, we don't have to look around the world to see this. Right in our own back yard, our neighbors in Vermont are aggressively pursuing single-payer health care. In a recent report delivered to the Vermont Legislature, Dr. William Hsiao of Harvard demonstrated that a single-payer system could deliver universal access to health care, for less money, while improving the quality of care. It is more than reasonable to assume the same could be true in Maine.

But we don't know that to be the case. Before we can pursue single-payer in Maine, we need an up-to-date study to find out what the costs and unique obstacles are for our state. The 2002 report by Mathematica Policy Research on the feasibility of single-payer in Maine was done long before the recent federal reforms. These reforms change the game for Maine and offer new challenges for our state. We need a new study to investigate the possibility of a single-payer system evolving from the federal reforms. So we ask the committee to support this bill and support an updated study on single-payer.