December 15 2018 Bangor Minutes

Bangor Chapter Meeting

Location: Bagel Central – 33 Central St, Bangor

Date: Saturday, December 15th

Time: 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM

Attendees: Chris Cayer, Andrew Sarto, Larry Dansinger, Jeff Graham, Geoff Gratwick, Bill Diggins, David Green, Alex Fortin, Norma Fortin, Bob Alexander

Agenda

  1. Introductions & Review the Agenda
  2. Treasurer’s Report – $157.85 balance
  3. State & National Update
  4. Review Annual Goals
  5. Plan for 2019
  6. Next Meeting
  7. Adjourn

Election Day Update: 241 volunteers collected support cards at 75 polling locations around the state. We identified more than 15,000 new supporters (goal was 12,000). In Penobscot county alone we had 12 volunteers at 3 locations and collected 1,422 cards.

Giving Tuesday Update: Maine AllCare held fundraising phone banks at three locations around the state for Giving Tuesday. 15 volunteer callers raised over $30,000. This is a huge boost and a sign of growing support for universal healthcare. Last year we raised just over $10,000 on Giving Tuesday.

2018 Goals / Actual Progress Since June 2018

  • 450 volunteers / 1275 new volunteers
  • 300 trained volunteers / 487 new trained vols
  • 14,000 new supporters / 20,000+ new supporters
  • 4 new chapters / 3 new chapters (Lincoln, York, Sacopee Valley)
  • 24 house parties / 9 house parties
  • 60 business endorsements / 23 new endorsements
  • 500 donations / 407 donations

National Update

HR 676, the federal expand and improve Medicare bill, will be introduced again this year. Maine Representative Chellie Pingree is a co-sponsor. We are urging Jared Golden to cosponsor the bill as well since he campaigned on Medicare for All. Please write a letter to Golden or your local paper urging him to support HR 676.

The current estimate is that HR 676 will have 133 supporters in the house (we need 218 for a majority). It’s not impossible to think this bill could pass but it is unlikely. Even if it passes the house it will still need to pass through the senate. The current estimate is only 16 members of the senate would support this bill (51 needed for majority).

Our current analysis is that progress toward Medicare for All is unlikely to happen in the next 2-4 years. The upcoming senate races in 2020 will have a big impact on this issue. Maine is identified as one of the most important states because both of our senators currently oppose Medicare for All.

State Update

LD 1274, the statewide universal health care bill, will be introduced again in the upcoming session by Representative Heidi Brooks from Lewiston. Senators Geoff Gratwick and Troy Jackson (both members of the Maine AllCare board) will cosponsor the bill along with seven other legislators. We will likely be making a push in the coming months to identify more cosponsors.

Senator Geoff Gratwick has been working with the rest of the Maine AllCare board to develop a different health care bill which will likely be introduced in the fall. More information below.

Representative Mike Sylvester from Peaks Island is developing his own health care bill that he plans on submitting in the next session. His plan would likely include a public buy-in option for Medicaid as well as several cost cutting strategies. Representative Seth Berry from Bowdoinham will be introducing a health care bill that would allow people to buy in to the State Employee Health Plan.

Chapter Ideas for 2019

  • Organize public forums to discuss legislation
  • Date Entry – the 15,000 new support cards need to be entered into our database.
  • Table at local events (Women’s March?)
  • Identify businesses to endorse Maine AllCare
  • Organize house parties to educate and raise money
  • Organize letter writing parties

Working on house parties/fundraising/education. Bill Wood & Clare Mundell have agreed to host a house party in Jan/Feb and we have a stellar host team including Lucas St. Claire.

One of our biggest goals for 2019 is to identify businesses to endorse MAC. Business endorsers need to be willing to have their name added to Maine AllCare’s website and possibly contribute and/or educate employees (optional). Larry suggested that WERU has a list of businesses we might consider contacting.

We need emails to go to people who might join our local chapter especially if an interest was indicated on the yellow card. Chris will train Andrew and anyone else who wants to learn how to use Nationbuilder.

Clynk bag discussed as an approach towards fundraising. Use Clynk bags to collect returnables and money goes to MAC.

Report by Geoff Gratwick on work at the state legislative level. Eventual goals involve Washington, but we need to work locally in Maine now. Tweaks to healthcare at the state level include: prevention of insurance companies cherry-picking the best clients/decreasing medication costs/decreasing hospital

costs/working on telehealth. There is a new funded committee in the legislature  “Health and Insurance”.

The current agenda of Maine AllCare may not be workable in the legislature of Maine. ERISSA was reviewed and explained. Certain aspects of control were moved to the federal government by this law. The current approach in Maine might be that a public trust would manage the healthcare of maybe 50% of Maine residents and primarily control drug and hospital costs. Discussion of the above followed.

David Green suggested we speak to users of the healthcare system and work primarily on the drug and insurance industries’ contribution to costs.

Event: Women’s March – Jan 19th – 11AM – Bangor

Next meeting: Jan 12th – 9AM – Bagel Central – Bangor