Medicare at risk
Medicare is a successful and popular program, a publicly funded health care system that serves millions of seniors and disabled Americans by focusing on health care, not profit.
But ongoing efforts to privatize Medicare through Medicare Advantage, Direct Contracting Entities (DCEs), and now ACO REACH threaten the future of traditional Medicare by allowing third-party middlemen to get between people and the care they need, and reap huge profits in the process.
On top of that, seniors can be signed up for REACH without their full understanding or consent—and the only way to get out is to change their primary care provider.
How privatization hurts
Rick Timmins enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan thinking it would save money and provide more coverage, only to find that he couldn’t get the care or see the doctors he needed. Due to delays and dysfunction, he ended up with a malignant melanoma that required major surgery.
Denying and delaying care
Ellen Bilofsky received a heartbreaking diagnosis of grade 4 glioblastoma, an inoperable brain cancer, in 2021. She and her family wanted to spend the last months of her life enjoying time together, sharing memories, and seeing loved ones. But because their health plan had been changed from traditional Medicare to Medicare Advantage through her retirement plan, more than once she was denied the care her doctors prescribed. She and her family spent precious time battling Medicare Advantage so she could receive the care she needed and deserved.
Wasting taxpayer funds
Recent research reported by Kaiser Health News shows that Medicare Advantage plans have cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars more than traditional Medicare, and these costs are likely to keep rising.
What can we do?
Take action: Call your elected representatives and President Biden. Write letters to the editor. Sign the Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) petition. Share on social media.
Talk with friends and family about the dangers of privatizing Medicare.
Maine AllCare has signed on as one of 250+ organizations supporting this effort.
Maine News and Opinion
In a June 2 op-ed in the Portland Press Herald, Steve Quattrucci lays out the problems of rising, uncontrolled costs and consolidation of hospitals and provider practices in our current health care “system,” including the impact on Maine businesses. He advocates for “more predictability and transparency in pricing, and … more competition in the delivery of care” but not explicitly for a single-payer system. Quattrucci is an owner of Monte’s Fine Foods in Portland.
“Maine cannot grow its economy without addressing its rising health care costs. Those high costs are driving down the value of everyone’s paychecks by driving up insurance premiums as well as deductibles and co-pays. On a larger scale, it causes businesses to rethink their investments in Maine.”
Never read the comments…
But in this case, you should. Several commenters raise key points about how a publicly funded single-payer system, akin to Medicare or the VA, would vastly improve predictability and transparency—and control costs—in health care while freeing Maine businesses from the burden of health care management.
Quote of the month
“…changing our healthcare system is not going to take one bill, it’s not going to take one campaign for one piece of legislation. It’s going to need a movement…”
–June 13 Code Wack podcast with guest Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access
Turn your bottles and cans into universal healthcare!
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 24,903 containers—enough to fill 252 lobster traps!— and raised more than $1,200.
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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 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.
Maine AllCare is a chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program.