Letters to Editors

A true feel-good experience – Ellsworth American

A true feel-good experience
Dear Editor: A small businessman, a retired physician, a legislator and a former nurse walked into a bar … well, not a bar, but a recent meeting at the Deer Isle Town Hall. Much as I don’t care for meetings, this one recently made me feel good about my fellow citizens.
The subject was the strategy for dealing with the out-of-control relationship between health care costs and health insurance costs. Joe Lendvai, small businessman, founding member of Maine AllCare, and Lynn Cheney of Blue Hill, Maine AllCare Downeast Chapter leader, joined Dr. Jeff Milliken and our own Walter Kumiega for a most informative panel discussion. They described the efforts of Maine AllCare, a committee of conservatives and liberals working together to craft a response for Maine. See the website www.maineallcare. org to learn about how we might get publicly funded universal coverage under a more efficient system the way all other industrialized countries are doing these days.
Just as we pay as a group for the costs of our roads, police, fire protection and education, so we could rearrange things with a simpler system so that health insurance costs — even before mentioning healthdisasters — don’t threaten our families, small businesses and independent contractors with financial ruin. Our small rural hospitals need not be threatened with bankruptcy due to unreimbursed emergency room visits from the uninsured. Our family physicians could spend their time on their patients, not the costly paperwork and a hassle of negotiating with insurance companies.
What do we do right now, at the moment while details are being worked out? We can all inform ourselves at the website, question closely the candidates in the forthcoming mid-term elections, and immediately support lowering the age for Medicare to 50. These are potential steps before we even get to the thorny question of how to deal with the private insurance companies and Big Pharma lobbies. Apparently California and New York states are poised to adopt a single-payer plan and it’s up to us to make sure New England is not far behind.
Do you want these generous good citizen volunteers to come make a presentation to your group? Contact them at info@maineallcare. org and feel good about yourself.
Marnie Reed Crowell Sunset

Letter to the editor: Canada’s single-payer system works

If you want everyone to have access to good medical care, move away from the current profit-based system.
Portland Press Herald – May 7, 2018
In his letter to the editor May 2, Don Vose of Naples argued that a single-payer health care system would not serve us well, referring in part to Canadians “forgoing” their single-payer system.
This may be a commonly held view, but it is not accurate. A poll by Nanos Research found that 86.2 percent of Canadians support the single-payer system and want to strengthen it, rather than move toward a private insurance-based model. This is because on the whole, regular people are well served by this system. Under a single-payer system you will not find yourself in a “coverage gap,” you are not charged a dime if you get hit by a car and you will never go bankrupt if you get cancer, no matter what.
I have experienced both health care systems after marrying a U.S. citizen and moving to Maine. In Canada I had a great doctor, could stop in any walk-in clinic in town if I needed and was always able to access the specialist care I required. Here, I know many people without health care coverage, and I fear that with one wrong move or unlucky break I could be forced to join their ranks.
Altogether, Canada’s single-payer system is not as radically different as some think. A mix of private businesses (including doctors, the majority of whom are self-employed) bill the government for the services they provide; as a rule, the government doesn’t own facilities or employ health care professionals.
Bottom line: If you want everyone to have access to good medical care, move toward single-payer and away from the current profit-based system.
Hillary Barter