Between a rock and a hard place
Burnout, workforce distress, moral injury: These terms have different shades of meaning but all point to a growing crisis in medical workers, many of whom are experiencing exhaustion, depression, anxiety, and unbearable physical and emotional stress due to the demands of their work.
Many factors contribute to this crisis, but a major one is the corporate takeover of our health care system over the past several decades, with a focus on maximizing profit and revenue that overshadows caring for patients. The physicians, nurses, and other health care workers who care for us are increasingly pressured to boost revenue, making it harder and harder to give patients the care they need.
This crisis has been building for years. It predates Covid-19, but the pandemic has exacerbated it. Dr. Phil Caper, a retired internist and founding board member of Maine AllCare, wrote about the industrialization of medicine and how patients have become “consumers,” and physicians have become “providers” in an opinion piece in the Bangor Daily News in 2015 that, sadly, is still relevant today. In fact, the problem has gotten worse, not better.
Maine AllCare has created an online forum for health care practitioners interested in health care reform. If you are interested in joining, please contact Dan Bryant.
Photo: mybixo, Adobe Stock
“At some point, most of us who entered medicine for altruistic reasons find ourselves providing a declining quality of care. We find that we have become a high-speed data entry person for the various corporations that decide how we practice medicine – the insurance companies, the drugmakers, even the corporations that run the practices and hospitals. … In response to our feedback and calls for change, we are told that we must be more ‘resilient.’”
–Deborah Patten in an opinion piece in the Portland Press Herald, 4/9/23
Maine AllCare statewide virtual meeting
To better stay in touch and work together, we’re experimenting with a statewide, virtual meeting for Maine AllCare supporters and people who want to learn more and get involved.
Sunday, April 23, 4-5:30 pm
Questions? Contact email@example.com.
Maine AllCare News
HealthCare for All Maine, the political and advocacy arm of Maine AllCare, held six Lunch & Learns with Maine legislators this winter focused on “Improving Health Care in Maine: What Can We Do?” Topics included the level of complexity and waste in our current system, impacts on businesses, and rural health.
Visit the HCAM website for summaries of each talk and links to the materials shared during the sessions.
Call to Action
Help Stop REACH and protect original Medicare
Improved Medicare for All is one way to reach our goal of health care for everyone in Maine—Everybody In, Nobody Out. But efforts to privatize original Medicare threaten the existence of this popular publicly funded, not-for-profit, single-payer system.
Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) is campaigning hard to stop ACO REACH, which went into effect in January.
Learn more and join this campaign on our website.
Proposed constitutional amendment
Maine Senator Craig Hickman recently introduced a bill that would begin the process of adding a right to health care to Maine’s constitution. The bill (LD 590) is co-sponsored by Senate President Troy Jackson, House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross, and others and has been referred to the Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee. We’re watching this bill closely and will alert you if it comes up for a public hearing or there are other opportunities to take action in support.
Tweet of the month
April 16, 2023 tweet
What we’re reading and listening to
How Healthcare Affects Physicians
Online forum with Drs. Ed Weisbart and Carol Paris, early-career physicians, and medical students hosted by the University of Tennessee Health Science Center chapter of Students for a National Health Program (SNaHP is the medical student organization connected with PNHP).
Fix Moral Injury: Nonprofit organization, book, podcast, webinars
Dr. Wendy Dean and colleagues are on a mission to raise awareness of moral injury in health care and what we can do about it. They stop short of advocating for some form of universal, publicly funded health care, which would address many of the goals they’ve identified.
Salve Lucrum: The Existential Threat of Greed in U.S. Health Care
Journal of the American Medical Society
“Greed harms the cultures of compassion and professionalism that are bedrock to healing care. … health care professionals in all disciplines need to become noisier about the conflict between unchecked greed and the duty to heal.”
The Lown Institute
“We must restore the art of healing to its rightful place at the center of our health system. That means providing adequate time for clinicians to listen and talk to patients, reducing administrative burdens, and liberating clinicians from business concerns that draw their focus away from the distressed and vulnerable human being who is their patient.”
Support Our Work
Turn your bottles and cans into universal health care!
Clynk is a simple way to support Maine AllCare’s work—just fill up a Clynk bag with your returnable bottles and cans, put on a MAC sticker, and drop them off at a nearby Hannaford store.
Clynk bags are available at participating Hannaford stores for a small fee. To get MAC stickers, contact us and we’ll put them in the mail to you.
Thank you to all who are participating! You have recycled more than 32,732 containers—enough to fill 332 lobster traps!—and raised more than $1,600.
Have you gotten your Maine AllCare bumper sticker?
Contact us to request yours!
Are you already sporting a sticker?
Send us a photo! We love to see the message spreading far and wide.
If you have trouble accessing content linked in this newsletter, please feel free to contact us. We’ll try to help.
Thank You for Your Support
Your donation is tax deductible under Section 501(c)3 of the IRS code, to the full extent allowed by law.
Maine AllCare promotes the establishment of publicly funded health care 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 health care, a basic necessity, be treated as a public good, since it is fundamental to our well-being as individuals and as a democratic nation.
Maine AllCare is a chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program.
What do you think of this newsletter? We’d love to hear your thoughts, questions and feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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P.O. Box 5015, Portland, ME 04101