September 2021 Newsletter
Health Care in the U.S. Compared to Other High Income Countries
The Commonwealth Fund has released a report comparing and analyzing the the performance of health care systems of 11 high-income countries.
- Key Findings: The top-performing countries overall are Norway, the Netherlands, and Australia. The United States ranks last overall, despite spending far more of its gross domestic product on health care. The U.S. ranks last on access to care, administrative efficiency, equity, and health care outcomes, but second on measures of care process.
- Conclusion: Four features distinguish top performing countries from the United States: 1) they provide for universal coverage and remove cost barriers; 2) they invest in primary care systems to ensure that high-value services are equitably available in all communities to all people; 3) they reduce administrative burdens that divert time, efforts, and spending from health improvement efforts; and 4) they invest in social services, especially for children and working-age adults.
Comment: The evidence speaks loudly. Sinking more money into a multi-payer health care system serves only to inflate U.S. health care costs without improving access or outcomes. A truly patient-centered system is one that provides universal coverage and shields patients from unnecessary cost-sharing.
Voices of Maine
Maine should move toward universal healthcare
At the national level, Rep. Ro Khanna’s State-Based Universal Care Act (HR 5010) would allow states to use federal funds to support their own universal health care plans. Rep. Chellie Pingree is an original co-sponsor of this “states’ rights” bill.
In Maine, the Maine Health Care Act (L.D. 1045), which would provide publicly funded health care coverage, was passed, contingent on enabling federal legislation. Resulting cost savings would allow provision of the plan’s comprehensive care while reducing total state health care expenditures and most individuals’ health care costs. The Legislature also drafted a Joint Resolution addressed to Maine’s congressional delegation, stating that “every person in the State should have access to affordable and high-quality health care,” and it urges congressional support for HR 5010.
Gov. Mills’ health care focus has been on establishing a state-based Affordable Care Act marketplace. But the sad truth is that the vast majority of policies carry with them imposing deductibles, which leave enrollees functionally uninsured, and do not reduce insurers’ administrative overhead. Only by the payer consolidation can we put these dollars toward the care of all Maine residents.
As a primary care physician, I implore Gov. Mills to join the states seeking to establish well-funded, less-expensive medical care for their residents by signing L.D. 1045, and that she advocate for the federal legislation that can make state-based universal coverage a reality.”
Thomas Sterne, MD
Editors note: Governor Janet Mills allowed the amended LD 1045 to become law without her signature. For more information about the law, visit our website.
Write a letter to the editor in support of universal healthcare. Check out this guidance on how to write an effective letter–and why they are so important. Please send us a link if your letter is published.
Your Questions Answered
From time to time, readers and supporters contact Maine AllCare with questions about universal healthcare.
This month we are featuring our answers to four of your questions.
We welcome your questions and we will continue to publish selected Q&A in upcoming newsletters. Please send your questions to email@example.com
Maine AllCare is a chapter of Physicians for a National Healthcare Program (PNHP). PNHP has active chapters across the country working for universal healthcare and provides lots of resources on what’s broken in our current system, why we need change, and how to get there. They have also put forth their own proposal for healthcare reform, in addition to supporting Medicare for All Act of 2021 (H.R. 1976) in Congress.
Learn More and Get Involved
Check out our website to learn more about health care reform for Maine, who we are, the work we do, and how you can get involved.
Maine All Care chapters usually meet monthly, around the state, and our meetings are open to all. Chapters are meeting via Zoom due to the pandemic.
Make a donation to support Maine AllCare’s work–any amount makes a difference! Make a one-time gift, or set up a monthly donation.
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Thank You for Your Support
Maine AllCare promotes the establishment of publicly funded healthcare coverage for all Maine residents. This system must be efficient, financially sound, politically sustainable and must provide benefits fairly distributed to all. Maine AllCare advocates that healthcare, a basic necessity, be treated as a public good, since it is fundamental to our well-being as individuals and as a democratic nation.
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Maine AllCare is a chapter of PNHP, Physicians for a National Health Program.
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