SOUTH PORTLAND — Maine Health Care Action, a non-profit Maine organization, has launched a ballot initiative entitled, “Resolve, Directing the Development of Legislation Establishing a Publicly Funded System of Healthcare Coverage for All Maine Residents,” according to a news release.
“This Resolve directs the Maine Legislature to create a bill that ensures comprehensive, publicly-funded, privately-delivered healthcare for every Maine citizen,” the initiative reads.
“The exorbitant costs of our dysfunctional healthcare system underlie every societal problem that Maine residents face — poverty, childhood hunger, economic uncertainty, record unemployment and associated forms of exclusion and discrimination,” stated the press release.
Fewer people can afford to access the care they need, the release said. Many with insurance cannot afford care because out-of-pocket costs are rapidly increasing, per the release, and essential care is often denied by insurers. More and more people face financial ruin due to medical bills, according to the release, and hospitals in rural Maine are barely scraping by and could soon face closure.
“The only way to drive down costs is to return to making healthcare about health, not about making money,” said MHCA board member Beth Franklin. “We deserve better!”
Healthcare costs in 2019 were 25 percent of Maine’s economy.
“Two excellent economic studies focused on Maine demonstrate that healthcare coverage for every Maine citizen will cost less,” the release stated.
“It is past time for a change,” asserted Les Fossel of Alna, MCHA Treasurer and former member of the Maine Legislature.
Every Maine person, the release said, is touched by the need for affordable healthcare, whether they have pre-existing conditions, rely on employer-sponsored health insurance coverage, or participate in Medicare, and no matter where they live.
Providers are frustrated. Bill Clark, M.D, MHCA Board member of Brunswick declared, “My former colleagues are despondent since our system’s ethos has moved from caring to profiting.”
In January, MHCA will begin gathering petition signatures intending to bring the initiative to voters in November 2022.
Penobscot Bay Pilot, 11/18/2020