Most likely you’ve seen pleas for financial help with medical expenses on sites like GoFundMe–maybe you’ve donated, or started a fundraising campaign yourself. In a way they’re the online equivalent of the jars on the counter at the local store, filling up with coins and small bills to help a neighbor pay for needed medical care.
We donate to GoFundMe campaigns, and to our neighbors, because we care about each other. But the generosity of individuals in helping people deal with healthcare crises can’t take the place of a system that provides healthcare for all.
According to a CBS News report from earlier this year, more than 8 million Americans have started campaigns to fund medical care for themselves or a family member, and another 12 million have turned to crowdfunding sites to help someone outside their immediate family with medical bills.
Of the $5 billion that has been raised through GoFundMe, one of the most well-known websites that hosts crowdsourced fundraising efforts, about a third has been for medical expenses from more than 250,000 medical campaigns conducted annually, says CEO Rob Solomon in a January 2019 interview with Kaiser Health News.
“We shouldn’t be the solution to a complex set of systemic problems,” says Solomon. “They should be solved by the government working properly, and by health care companies working with their constituents. We firmly believe that access to comprehensive health care is a right and things have to be fixed at the local, state and federal levels of government to make this a reality.”
Nearly 200,000 Maine families did not seek medical treatment in the past year due to cost.
Focusing in on Maine, a Maine Consumers for Affordable Health Care (CAHC) survey reported in October 2020 that nearly 200,000 Maine families did not seek medical treatment in the past year due to cost.
According to the CAHC survey and press release, healthcare costs are going up for over 3 out of 4 Maine families and at the same time roughly 66,000 Maine families have lost insurance coverage due to the economic shutdown brought on by the pandemic.
Call to Action
Volunteers needed to help get universal healthcare on the ballot in Maine!
You may have been hearing from Maine Healthcare Action (MHCA) in the past few weeks.
Maine Healthcare Action was formed in late 2020 by Maine AllCare with the express purpose of getting a Resolve on the ballot in 2022 that will direct the Maine Legislature to create a publicly funded universal healthcare system for the state.
Signature-gathering in support of this effort will be starting soon, and and your help is needed. Learn more and sign up to volunteer on the MHCA website.
Get a Maine AllCare bumper sticker!
Contact us to request one and we’ll put it in the mail to you.
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.
Voices of Maine
Michael Bacon, Portland Press Herald, Dec. 23, 2020
“Isn’t it self-evident that a wealthy country should have a health care system guaranteeing a high level of care to all? Other advanced countries do. How can we tolerate being so far behind?”
Market-driven healthcare at odds with an effective pandemic response
From an OpEd in the Roanoke Times on December 13, 2020, physician Robert Devereaux shares his perspectives.
“A single source of funding would also allow our country to devote more resources to public health and other preventative health strategies to improve the health of our population. It is time to separate health care financing from employment and remove the profit motive that is often at odds with providing the care that people really need.”
Further Reading and Listening
Editorial in The Lancet, January 2, 2021
Income-related inequalities in affordability and access to primary care in eleven high-income countries
2020 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey, December 9, 2020
Knowledge@Wharton blog and podcast, December 2020
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.
And please spread the word!
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.
Please forward this email to friends and family, and encourage them to sign up to receive the newsletter.
You can also mail your contribution to: Maine AllCare, P.O. Box 5015, Portland, ME 04101.
Maine AllCare is a chapter of PNHP, Physicians for a National Health Program.
Your donation is tax deductible under Section 501(c)3 of the IRS code, to the full extent allowed by law.