July 25 2018 Portland Minutes

July 25, 2018, 7 PM
Allen Avenue Unitarian Universalist Church
524 Allen Avenue, Portland

1 – Present: Dan Bryant, chair, Merrill Henderson, Sydney Jones, Cliff Krolick, Delene Perley, David Wilcock

Guest: Abbie Ryder, Statewide Field Organizer

2 – June 27 minutes approval was inadvertently overlooked. Comments will be sought when the current minutes are distributed, and if none are received the minutes will be considered approved.

3 – Board update, Executive Director plans

Dan summarized the July 5 Board meeting, including Senator Gratwick’s efforts in the legislature, the report on the HealthCare Now! One-Payer-States conference, and introduction of Phil Bailey, our new Executive Director. Later, Phil met with Delene, Dan, and Ed Cundy to outline his vision for the organization, which includes (as Dan interpreted it) continued base building, education, and fundraising; and design of a specific plan, using results of two fiscal analyses (MeCEP’s pending) and planned focus groups, together with review of other states’ efforts. This plan will then be pursued on two tracks—legislative and citizens’ initiative—and should help energize supporters looking for more specificity.

4 – Recent chapter actions/involvements

Dan reported that his contact with an InterMed officer ended with InterMed declining to discuss health care policy with us at this time, while his contact with a board member of MaineHealth’s Accountable Care Organization led to that individual signing up on the MAC web site. It was generally thought that such outreach was worthwhile, even though there was little obvious immediate benefit.

Maine Initiatives Social Justice Street Fair – July 14. Abbie had mobilized volunteers for this and a number of new supporters were identified.

5 – Discussion with Abbie Ryder –

Abbie covered a number of practical areas, including the importance of increasing our name recognition, holding Democrats accountable for their issue of universal health care and voters accountable for voting, having a significant MAC presence at the November polls statewide, the need for a war chest to be built partly by recurring donations and house parties, and the effort to establish six more MAC chapters.

David suggested asking all supporters to set up a recurring donation, which would produce a huge ongoing infusion of cash; and recommended a scheme involving a simple form where either bank account or credit card could be selected as source of donation.

Cliff emphasized the “war” in war chest, that this is a war we’re fighting, and our messaging about fundraising should express that.

6 – Future actions/involvements/opportunities

Festival of Nations – July 28, Deering Oaks Park. Abbie is lining up volunteers

Public engagement training – all agreed this would be important, and felt all  chapters should be instructed in a unified message, eventually including our long-range plan

Data entry training – Abbie will be arranging that, reaching out to supporters who have indicated interest in data entry

Labor Day (September 3) march with HCHR Coalition – apparently there is no march planned in Portland

MAC is considering having a table at the Maine Medical Association annual meeting Bar Harbor, September 7-8, but the cost may be prohibitive

Common Ground Fair – September 21-23. Abbie and Chris Cayer will be looking for volunteers, and MAC will have a speaker

OLLI Brown Bag Lunch program – Nancy Bogg is looking into this possibility

Health care policy statements by gubernatorial candidates in Portland Press Herald – Dan has contacted health reporter Craig Anderson about the paper interviewing at least gubernatorial candidates about their health care policy, and publishing the results, but has not heard back yet. He will pursue it and asks anyone with PPH contacts to get in touch with him about the project. Abbie suggested contacting Vanessa Sylvester at Health Care is a Human Right about this and Dan will do that also.

7 – Miscellaneous/FYI

Dan recommended the Minnesota Health Plan book readable at

https://mnhealthplan.org/download-healing-health-care/ and something MAC might consider emulating once a more specific Maine plan is developed. Also, HealthCare Now! Conference materials are accessible at https://wiki.healthcare-now.org/2018_Single-Payer_Strategy_Conference, and a report on the conference by MAC attendees may be forthcoming.

Cliff, who is hoping to establish a MAC chapter in the Sacopee Valley area, brought up two proposals:

1) to hold a MAC fundraising event in the spring at his Back Country Excursions site,

2) to look into forming a health care cooperative, funded by a bond issue, that would provide in-home and nursing home care to the elderly and disabled. Abbie will consult with Phil about 1). 2) was more complicated and how that should be pursued and MAC’s relation to it were not clear during our limited discussion.

He asked about seeking endorsement by Physicians for Social Responsibility. The MAC board has endorsed their “Call to Prevent Nuclear War” but hasn’t felt that universal health care was a priority for them. Dan will contact them to be sure. Cliff also emphasized the importance of letters to the editor to keep our mission in the public mind.

8 – Chapter leadership – David Wilcock offered to take over leadership of the chapter. Eventual co-chairs or rotating chairs were discussed, along with the great help the executive director and field organizers will be to them.

9 – Next meeting – August 22, Allen Avenue Unitarian Universalist Church

Respectfully submitted, Dan Bryant