Maine needs to create better health care

January 15, 2020

To the editor:

Alice Bolstridge, writer, poet, activist, mother and retired teacher, lives in Presque Isle. She has been a supporter of Maine AllCare since its inception in 2010.

I am a “consumer” of health care with a Medicare Advantage plan. I would much rather be a “patient” like I was in the late 1950s when I birthed my three babies in a four-day stay for each at a local hospital.

With insurance then from a nonprofit Blue Cross, Blue Shield, we — a working-class, one-income family — did not worry about how to pay for health care with birthing or when our son suffered a kidney disease at 4 years old and required treatment for four years through several lengthy hospital stays.Then profit and advertising entered the health care system, and the quality, accessibility and affordability have become increasingly cruel and unsustainable for the vast majority of consumers. I am a mother, grandmother and neighbor of working consumers who must decide with every health-care need to seek care or pay for housing or heating because they can’t afford the co-pays and deductibles of insurance or have no insurance at all.

There is a solution to this unsustainable situation. The Maine Center for Economic Policy conducted “a study of the costs and economic impacts of a health care model that would cover all Maine residents through a state-level public plan, with no fee at point of service. The results of the study show that total yearly healthcare spending could decrease by $1.5 billion under a new public plan, delivering significant benefits to Maine residents, cities, towns, and employers, along with fiscal stability for healthcare providers and hospitals.”

There are four bills currently in the legislature to create such a model for Maine. I believe the best of these is LD 1611. Health insurers and other big-money stakeholders of the health-care industrial complex are lobbying our legislators hard and contributing big money to political campaigns. The only voice in the legislature more powerful than these stakeholders is the voice of voters. I will write my Senator and Representative and urge them to support LD 1611.

Alice Bolstridge
Presque Isle