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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.



Healthcare movie

Editor's Note: Maine AllCare is showing The HEALTHCARE Movie around the state, a 65-minute documentary that tells the real story about the health care systems in Canada and the United States, and how they evolved to be so different. The film is narrated by Kiefer Sutherland, who is the grandson of the “father of Canadian health care”, Tommy Douglas.

If your group is interested in screening The Healthcare Movie please let us know. We will try our best to schedule a showing in your community along with a discussion on how we, in Maine, can achieve health care for everyone.











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Maine’s Support for Universal Healthcare Is Growing!

In Maine and the USA, we are living in unusual and tumultuous times. Resistance, persistence, and advocacy. Healthcare is one of the daily topics in the news. Now is the time to get the word out about healthcare for EVERYONE in Maine. Healthcare rallies in support of the ACA have repeatedly become calls for “Improved Medicare for All in Maine: simple, sensible, and fair.” (Read complete newsletter)


“Now is the time: Healthcare for everybody”

A new film by the producers of The HEALTHCARE Movie

Brunswick ME – A small crowd of supporters attracted by Maine AllCare, Peaceworks, and Brunswick Greens engaged with the issues presented in “Now is the time: Healthcare for everybody,” a film shown at Brunswick's Curtis Memorial Library on November 9.

Now is the time: Healthcare for everybody movie
Customizable movie flyer for your local publicity will include date and time, location and sponsor(s).

The powerful movie shows core problems with the US healthcare “system” and the obstacles to change. Interviews with key players and archival video from Senate ACA hearings and Vermont single-payer efforts are gripping, the graphics are helpful, and the filmmakers’ first person healthcare disaster stories ground the film in 2016 realities.

One viewer said, “It underscored the disgraceful posture and behavior of Obama and the Democrats surrounding the enactment of the ACA, a law that leaves many uninsured or grossly underinsured, nicely demonstrating the moral bankruptcy at the law's core inasmuch as the law was largely shaped by the health insurance industry, which continues to game the system to avoid paying for needed care.’”

Another commented, “Now I get it- costs skyrocket because our system is profit-driven, so mega-merging institutions (like Mass General Hospital) raise prices, big Pharma is unrestrained, and insurance companies keep profits up through government collusion with network-narrowing, lemon-dropping and cherry-picking!”

Arrange for a local showing for your group! Maine AllCare will lend the DVD and send poster copy for your use. If you would like a moderator to lead the discussion following your film screening, please email Dr. Bill Clark, Leader of the Midcoast Chapter with the details of your event.

—Submitted by Bill Clark, MD & Alice Knapp, Esq.


The first 50 years of Medicare – a report by the Commonwealth Fund

[the way life should be – universal health care for ALL Maine]

The first 50 years of Medicare

“For 50 years, Medicare has been a reliable guarantor of the health and welfare of older and disabled Americans by paying their medical bills, ensuring their access to needed health care services, and protecting them from potentially crushing health expenses.”

As Medicare enters its 50th anniversary year, now would seem a good time to reflect on a program that has transformed the lives of millions of elderly and disabled Americans while helping to shape the direction of U.S. health care overall.

In “Medicare at 50—Origins and Evolution,” the first of a two-part series in the New England Journal of Medicine, The Commonwealth Fund’s David Blumenthal, M.D., and Stuart Guterman, and Karen Davis of the Johns Hopkins University Lipitz Center for Integrated Healthcare tell the story of Medicare’s beginnings, review its impact on coverage and care, and discuss the key changes the program has undergone over the decades.

In part 2, the authors will describe some of the options for reforming Medicare so it can better meet its challenges, including the daunting task of controlling costs as millions more baby boomers enter the program. (read more)


Recommendations for Single Payer Healthcare Activists

Margaret Flowers, MD

by Margaret Flowers, MD

(Excerpted from a more extensive article posted on on January 8, 2015)

If we are to succeed in gaining single payer healthcare systems at the state or national level, we need more than the facts on our side. We must have political muscle that we are willing to flex.

After the 2009-10 national health reform process, I wrote an article that outlined three key elements for the single payer movement, calling it “I.C.U.” The “I” stands for independence because the movement must remain independent of political parties and their agendas; “C” for clarity, knowing what policies are real solutions and what are false solutions so that you can evaluate proposed policies; and “U” for uncompromising because as Gandhi said, “You cannot compromise on fundamentals for it is all give and no take.” We will keep getting crumbs if we are willing to take them.

Here is a summary of a few more recommendations:

  1. Organize a broad base using the human rights framework with the understanding that the struggle for health care is part of the broader struggle for social, economic and environmental justice.
  2. Understand how political power works so that the strategy and tactics that are used are effective. I think of it as a scientific approach that does not apply placebos but uses proven methods for social change.
  3. Demand that the reform process is transparent and allows public participation.
  4. Cultivate a proper relationship with lawmakers who are opposed to your position, one of persistent pressure on them that creates fear and loathing.
  5. Hold politicians accountable for their actions.
  6. Don’t be afraid to use your power. If the movement shows weakness, it will be exploited. If it shows strength, it will be respected.

The healthcare crisis and many crises continue in the United States. Our struggles will continue despite temporary setbacks. We must not give up. Let’s continue the conversation about next steps in our work for healthcare justice.

Dr. Margaret Flowers is co-director of It’s Our Economy, co-host of Clearing the FOG Radio and an organizer of the occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC. She is also with the Health Care is a Human Right campaign in Maryland.


Reading List

Editor's Note: If there is an area of agreement among most Americans about our health care system today, it is about its complexity. In order to improve it, citizens must develop some level of understanding of how the system operates – or doesn't, depending on your perspective – and who the key players are. We have received suggestions from a number of experts and pulled together a Reading List that will help educate people interested in making health care universally accessible, affordable and effective.

  1. American Health Care System
    • Clifton Leaf - The Truth in Small Doses - Why We're Losing the War on Cancer - and How to Win It, Simon and Shuster – 2013
    • Rosemary Gibson and Janardan Prasad Singh - Medicare Meltdown: How Washington and Wall Street Are Ruining Medicare and How to Fix It - Rowman and Littlefield – 2013
    • Paul Starr - The Social Transformation of American Medicine – 1984
    • Arnold Relman - A Second Opinion – 2007
    • Maggie Mahar - Money-driven Medicine – 2006
    • Susan Starr Sered and Rushika Fernandopulle  - Uninsured in America - 2006
    • Philip Bredesen - Fresh Medicine –– 2010
    • Barlett and Steele - Critical Condition: How Health Care in America Became Big Business – and Bad Medicine - 2005
    • Jonathan Cohn – The Untold Story of American’s Health Care Crisis – Reed-Elsevier – April, 2007
    • David Cutler – Your Money or Your Life: Strong Medicine for America’s Health Care System – Oxford University Press – 2004
    • Getting Health Reform Right: A Guide to Improving Performance and Equity - Marc Roberts, William Hsiao, Peter Berman and Michael Reich - 2008
    • Pickett and Wilkenson - The Spirit Level – Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger – 2009
    • Blumenthal and Morone - The Heart of Power - University of California Press - 2009
    • Wendell Potter - Deadly Spin - 2010
    • T.R. Reid – The Healing of America - 2010
    • Altman and Schactman - Power, Politics and Universal Health Care - Prometheus - 2011
    • Jacobs and Skocpol - Health Care Reform and American Politics - Oxford U. Press - 2012
    • Stiglitz - The Economists Voice 2.0: The FInancial Crisis, Health Care Reform, and More - Columbia U. Press - 2012


  2. Medical Practice
    • Bernard Lown  - The Lost Art of Healing –1999
    • Shannon Brownlee - Overtreated – 2007
    • Gibson and Singh  - The Treatment Trap - 2010
    • Otis Webb Brawley and Paul Goldberg - How We Do Harm: A Doctor Breaks Ranks About Being Sick in America - 2012


  3. Pharmaceutical Industry
    • Jerry Avorn – Powerful Medicines – 2004
    • Marcia Angell - The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It-– 2005
    • Jerry Kassirer - On The Take – 2005
    • Jacky Law – Big Pharma: Exposing the Global Healthcare Agenda – Avalon – 2006
    • John Abramson - Overdosed America – 2008
    • Melody Peterson - Our Daily Meds – 2009

National Articles

Maine Articles on Health Care Reform

Videos and Movies

Margaret Flowers speaking at Portland Public Library, May 10, 2011 (15 minutes)

The right way to spend on healthcare  Amitabh Chandra (TED-Cambridge talk - 13 minutes)

What a Single Payer Health Insurance Plan Looks Like  (video 38 minutes)  A three-part interview with economist Dr. Gerald Friedman on how a single-payer plan in Maryland would cover everyone, improve outcomes and make business more competitive.

Sick Around the World (video 56 minutes) TR Reid

  • The Good News (video - 53 minutes) TR Reid

  • Got Healthcare? 65 doctors, nurses and informed activists in an unusual stream of conversation documentary film.
  • SICKO - Michael Moore (2007) Still the authoritative movie about the ills of the American system.
  • The HEALTHCARE Movie. Documentary explores the history and differences between US and Canada.
  • Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Health Care.  In theaters and on iTunes October 2012.    
  • The Waiting Room.  Follow the life and times of patients and caregivers in a public hospital in CA.
  • Money and Medicine - PBS - Money drives much of medical decision-making