January 21 2018 Downeast MAC Minutes

Maine AllCare Down East Chapter

1/21/18 meeting Minutes

Blue Hill Library, 4 – 5:30

Attending: Betsy Braunhut, Kevin Mathewson, Valerie Dornan, Hunt Gressitt, Robert Grant, Lynn Cheney, Alan Wittenberg, Diana Page, David Jolly, Jean Rohrer, Kate O’Dell, Liz Solet (Blue Hill), Ted Fletcher, Bonnie Preston, Joe Lendvai

Minutes: Liz Solet

Approve minutes Liz Solet Second, passed
Treasurer’s Report Lynn for Kevin Hunt DE chapter donated to state MAC $270. An anonymous $1054.55 year-end donation was earmarked for use by DE chapter. (Funds held by state MAC.)
First Legislative Task Force meeting recap Diana Page First task force meeting was December 20, 2017. Diana, Oscar, Lynn, Valerie attended.

Report: spent time discussing what the mandate will be; report to Legislature in Jan. 2019; there wasn’t a sense that there would be agreement, but that they will come up with 2-3 options (this is in keeping with the task force’s mandate: ‘all Mainers will have access to affordable and quality health care’). Have funding for 4 sessions—have to offer to pay members of task force; they now have nearly enough $ to go on for 2 years. People were trying very hard not to set up barriers, to stay open—knew there were many different viewpoints present, and definitely divides. Tried to be very civil and open. Lots of good points from different views.

Intros, watched part of Fix It, and part of American Sickness.

Chair: Sen. Rodney Whittemore, Republican: focused on getting it done, talked about healthcare as a business, need to have at least one private option.

Co-Chair: Rep. Heather Sanborn, Democrat: teacher, lawyer, former business owner—articulate, strong.

Sen. Eric Brakey (running for Angus King’s seat): very positive; feels all can be solved with technology, via private sector.

Sen. Geoff Gratwick: MD and MAC Board member.

Sen. Brownie Carson: military; has had govt. healthcare; straightforward, focused on negatives and doubts, though ‘on our side.’

Rep. Bob Foley: former insurance industry, focused on costs, how to reduce. Rep. Anne Perry, Dem, Calais: focused on how terrible things are for rural hospitals.

Rep. Paul Chase: former pharmacist; understands impacts of drug costs. Francis McGinty: ‘no such thing as free care’; fed. Govt dictates what we pay; former exec at Blue Cross Anthem, representing providers.

Jeffrey Austin: govt. is underpaying for real costs born by hospitals. Would like some form of universal care.

Kevin Lewis: President and CEO of Maine Community Health Options; representing health insurance carriers.

Kristine Ossenfort: representing health insurance carriers.

Patricia Riley: representing consumers; ‘what is our vision of where we want to get to?’ Public health policy expert.

Joel Allumbaugh: supposed to represent consumers; very negative; ‘too hard/too many problems.’

Daniel Kleban: representing small businesses; unpredictability and volatility of pricing is biggest problem; businesses pay more than govt.

Cianbro: health care is too costly, need more options, more transparency.

Next meeting: 1/22, all day. Morning: discussing what’s meant by “coverage.” Afternoon: accepting public testimony. Lynn will be driving, Hunt also going. Happy to drive people, will be there all day.

March 2: Friday: no agenda or time yet. Lynn will send when available.

Tasked with making report by December 2018. Have staffed assigned to help the Task Force.

Geoff Gratwick suggests setting up subcommittees. Not sure yet if possible. Clearly they can’t get terribly far with only 4 meetings; have most of the funding for a second year; Geoff Gratwick says this is a ‘big tent’ approach; won’t have to come up with actual plans this year.

Possibility of further meetings around the state as well.

Business Partner Strategy Lynn for Jeff Milliken **New business endorsement form to use.**

Tips: see owner; ‘Do you support universal health care?’; Do you want yellow cards/info? (bring); focus on eliminating/reducing uncertainty for businesses, make expenses more predictable, lower costs, relieve businesses of health care administration burden.

Good time to mention task force—Legislature is now working on making health care more affordable, universal, and financially sustainable. (Even studies by conservative groups like Heritage Foundation show universal health care will lower costs…).

Note the difference in admin costs—Medicare (~1-5%), private insurance (~20%).

MAC now has 10 chapters; also working on 2 economic studies;.

We have divvied up some of the businesses on the BH Chamber of Commerce list; can also approach other businesses.

Report on One-Payer States conf call Lynn, Joe Lynn and Joe participating; monthly conference call.

Most recent call: 17 participants in 9 states, with Wendell Potter speaking. Started org called Tarbell to foster independent journalism. Repeal of individual mandate will cause costs to rise, and make fundamental overhaul more needed to control costs.

Focus on messaging—considers health care as entitlement to be wrong approach. Engaging George Lakoff, with Wendell Potter and others to focus on messaging. Better: ‘publicly funded, privately delivered.’ Medicare for All also works, but more mixed.

Setting Downeast Chapter goals for 2018 Lynn MAC state org achievements in 2017: Abbie and Chris worked as field organizers, made tremendous progress; professional fundraisers were engaged; state Board discussing hiring Exec Director and re-hiring field organizers. Recently submitted application to STK Foundation, at suggestion of Geoff Gratwick; STK anticipates proposal. Would pay for 2 economic studies: one by Gerald Friedman, UMass Amherst; one by Mathematica. Some of the grant funds would be seed money for salaries for paid staff. Now have major asset of thousands of supporters—need to manage, sustain, leverage, engage.

Marilyn McWilliams, chapter liaison from state Board, sent list of suggestions for chapters:

1)     Set up monthly donation to MAC

2)     Advise Board of any opportunities to speak, raise funds, etc. For example, Lynn let them know of meeting with School Union 93 board on April 10th at 5:30 at the Penobscot Elementary School.

3)     Set up candidates’ forums. Have set up one for gubernatorial candidates, Feb. 1, AFL-CIO offices, Augusta. Collaborating with Maine Nurses Assn., SMWC, MAC, AFL-CIO. All candidates invited, plan to ask questions on health care. Can send questions to ask candidates. [Handout from 2017 with 5 questions to ask any candidate about health care—will send out again.] Also ask health care questions of candidates at any and all events. Also speak up about our views on health care—make candidates aware of what people want.

GOALS for Downeast chapter in 2018:

* Get 50 business endorsements

* Set up [?] recurring donors

* Hold [?] house parties

* Make [?] contacts to legislators (state)

To Be Continued…

Ideas: MAC card (¼ page?) with website, contact info, little bit of info. Answers frequent question, ‘What can I do?’ Can also use MAC tall card. Would be good to specifically encourage recurring donation. Betsy will create.

 Have reminder of candidates’ positions on health care as primary gets closer (and before election in fall).

“Name that Monthly Giving Plan” All Think about for next meeting!


UPCOMING EVENTS Date & Time Organizer Notes
House party, Sullivan 2/12 Ellsworth chapter NEED speaker(s)
House party, UU Church, Ellsworth 1/26 6 pm Ellsworth chapter Joe Lendvai will speak
Dinner & Movie (FixIt), Blue Hill Congo Church* 1/29 5:30 pm Hunt, Kate  
Dinner & Movie (BigPharma), Blue Hill Congo Church* 2/26 5:30 pm Hunt, Kate  
*meal from Simmering Pot (closes 6PM) – or brown bag      


What will get done? By whom? By when? Notes: Status:
Create small MAC card with brief info, contacts, steps to take. Include monthly donation. Betsy Next meeting?
Set up monthly donation to MAC All Before next meeting If financially feasible; can be any amount–$5/month helps.
Seek business endorsements As noted in BH CoC list Before next meeting Can also go to businesses not on the list!

 Next scheduled meeting:

Sunday, February 18, 2018, 4 – 5:30 pm

Meeting adjourned 5:35 pm

Lynn Cheney