October 15, 2017 Downeast Minutes

Maine AllCare Downeast Chapter

October 15, 2017 meeting minutes

Howard Room, Blue Hill Library

Attending: Lynn Cheney, Joe Lendvai, Kevin Hunt, Bonnie Preston, Caryl Heaton, Tom van Buren, Steve Collier, Diana Page, Oscar Ruiz, Caroline Werth, Bill MacDowell, Kate O’Dell, Liz Solet, Betsy Braunhut, Robert Grant, Jeff Milliken, Jon Albrecht, Hunt Gressitt, Ruth Ryan, Bonnie Preston. Minutes: Liz Solet

Additions to agenda:

 Sexy T-shirts drawing at end of meeting

 Portland, OR chapter using a sign holder that we could adopt

 Nurse fired after writing LTE about care at MCMH—response


Sign holder is light and easily transported. Tom VanBuren volunteered to make a version of it. Then we will buy a banner.

John Greenman (Orland) – wrote letter in defense of a nurse fired after writing a letter to editor about her concern about deterioration of care when providers left MCMH. EMMC personnel policy does stipulate that employees cannot speak directly to the media.

Public meeting at hospital’s annual meeting December 6th. Can go online to confirm time and location.

Approve September minutes All Motion; second; carried
Treasurer’s Report Kevin Hunt We have $70. Do we establish bank acct or forward to central organization. Lynn suggested keeping a small amt of money for DEMAC chapter.
Recap of events held since our last meeting with lessons learned: 


House Party – Phil Caper

Stonington Opera House event

House Party – Melinda Reach

Tabling – Mainescape


Jeff Milliken, Betsy Braunhut, Lynn Cheney House party at Phil Caper’s: Peach Tree fundraiser (Brian Funk) was there. Senator Gratwick was there. Brought in $1000 in donations.

Stonington Opera: Betsy’s recap. She was a bit discouraged b/c only 64 people,

including DEMAC volunteers. Very few “locals” attended. Chris Cayer felt this

result was good given the community size.

Melinda Reach House Party: 28 attendees. Collected half a dozen yellow cards, no donations. Chair of MDI Hospital Board was there, and someone else connected with MDI Hospital. Plans underway to show Fix It to their Board—very beneficial outcome. MDI Hosp just came out officially in support of Q2 in November.

MaineScape: collected 55 cards and $30. Great day. Sense of urgency felt because of Trump’s recent actions, need to take action at state level. 

Further discussion of events, lessons learned, next steps Chris Cayer said we need election day tabling.

And fundraising—need to hire an executive director.

Discussion of how we might reach beyond, outside the choir, to “natives,” the working poor, and soon, possibly anyone making over 400 percent of the FPL (if Trump’s exec order regarding subsidies goes into effect—would raise costs dramatically for many people). Lynn and Kevin are still ACA navigators. Suggestion to have each person  present today to reach out to a “native.”

Heard that many locals won’t be drawn to an event at the Opera House, even.

Permanent at Maine Grind/Flex It, etc.?

Make presentation to local orgs such as Rotary, KoC, Veterans orgs, etc

See people coming to ER who’ve been dropped from Medicaid and need care. (Adults without kids do not qualify for Medicaid since LePage has not supported Medicaid expansion.)

Put small MAC flyer on bulletin boards around communities.

Kevin Hunt’s take (as former hospital CFO) on Megan McArldle’s opinion piece in BDN: 




Kevin With Senator Bernie Sander’s “Medicare for All” bill front and center in the news, we need to understand what is coming from the opposition.

McArdle’s piece was confusing. Re: cost-shifting: yes, has been going on and is an issue. Some progress has been made in standardizing fee schedules. Private payers do pay more than Medicare, Medicare pays more than Medicaid.

“Adverse selection”: wouldn’t happen in Medicare for all—everyone in.

Medicare “bad debt” only from people not meeting out of pocket portions. Doesn’t think that “bad debt” would go away entirely under universal healthcare, or any system. Hospitals would need to continue some level of charitable care. Hospitals have overall been positive about ACA, and Medicaid expansion.

How well does Medicare handle reimbursement for capital expenditures? Big deal for hospitals—have multi-year investments/plans. Medicare does pay for capital expenses, but not at the same rate/timetable as hospitals.

McArdle says filling hospital beds is like filling airline seats—Kevin does not think this is accurate, or appropriate.

Discussion: all the financial arguments made by McArdle are refutable. Hospitals compete with other hospitals in town—increases cost of care.

McArdle piece seems to refer to more of a public option—people would choose to buy in or not. MAC is advocating for something different.

Shift from cash to tax-based system would be huge.

McArdle says, if hospitals are forced to cut costs too quickly, could impact care. Could be some truth to that. But quality of care is suffering under current system. Seeing staff being pushed to fill beds, route patients to more lucrative specialties.

Medicare for All is NOT enough—Medicare does have some problems, such as many people needing supplemental plans and they can be too expensive.

In Canada, hospitals and doctors are independent. Canadian government is the Payor.

Supply and demand does not work in healthcare. Approach of raising taxes not effective; need to be able to make a proposal such as ‘would you be willing to pay 1-2% on payroll, and have employer pay 7%?’ Sanders’ bill does not spell out specifics. Carol will find out if PNHP has any details.

Design a plan to canvass local business for their support of Maine AllCare. MAC downeast has joined Blue Hill Chamber of Commerce; state MAC has made outreach to businesses a priority.

First Friday of each month, 8-9 am, Chamber meets for coffee and conversation—would like a few volunteers to go. State MAC has created form for businesses to sign on as partner with MAC. Volunteers: Jeff Milliken, Kevin Hunt, Lynn Cheney, Oscar Ruiz.

MAC now on BH CoC website with short blurb.

Use as platform to leverage with businesses, selectmen, school boards, etc.

Outreach to farmers: Bonnie will approach N. Blue Hill grange about having a MAC event at their winter series of talks.

Sign up for tabling at the Blue Hill Town Hall on Election Day 11/7


All Permission for 3 towns so far.


Follow up/To do:


What will get done? By who? By when? Notes: Status:
Attend BH Chamber coffee and conversation event Jeff Milliken, Oscar Ruiz, Lynn Cheney, Kevin Hunt ? Chamber meets 1st Fridays, 8-9 am
Reach out to “locals”—neighbors, friends, colleagues, etc. who are not in our choir All Next mtg
Make a version of the Portland, OR chapter’s sign holder Tom Van Buren Next mtg
Look into PNHP details on funding structures Carol Next mtg
Reach out to Flex It re: permanent display Liz Next mtg
Spread the word about chapter and meetings and events All ongoing
Approach Halcyon Grange about having MAC talk at winter talk series Bonnie Next mtg
Approach BH Winter Market about having MAC table Liz Next mtg
Commit to what we’re willing and able to do (especially house parties) All FOR next mtg
Put small MAC flyer on bulletin boards around communities. All ongoing


Next scheduled meeting: November 19, 4-5:30 pm

Meeting adjourned 5:30 pm