March 18 2018 Downeast Minutes

Maine AllCare Down East Chapter

3/18/18 meeting minutes

Blue Hill Library, 4 – 5:30

Attending: Betsy Braunhut, Lynn Cheney, Joe Lendvai, Liz Solet, Kevin Hunt, Oscar Ruiz, Randi Neblett, Peter Neblett, Valerie Dornan, Diana Page, Betsy Armstrong, David Jolly, Rebecca Wentworth

Minutes: Liz Solet

Approve minutes Lynn Cheney Approved
Treasurer’s Report Kevin Hunt


Lynn Cheney

No new chapter business.


Recently received $50K grant from STK Foundation! Spearheaded by Geoff Gratwick, Lynn worked on. Have also applied for ME Community Foundation grant, to hear in May. Lynn’s understanding is that Chris and Abbie will be hired again as organizers; the add’l $10K from MCF would pay for more of their time. $30K will go to econ studies (Gerald Friedman and other).

What would econ studies look at?

Suggest special meetings to explore more exactly what questions need to be answered. MAC Board would welcome input—they will be giving direction re: econ studies.

Legislative Task Force third meeting report Joe Lendvai and others One of the experts testifying is now on MAC Board.

14 testified; 10 from MAC.

Considerable, serious discussion of the state getting into being the mass purchaser of drugs (wholesale?), from Canada. Separate from MAC. Other states also looking into this; VT and UT are doing.

US spends 2x as much as Canada for generic drugs. 80% of drugs used in US are already imported.

Very good to see task force working together on these tough problems. Have broken into smaller groups. Task force cannot suggest legislation; they are charged with developing three potential plans. Have planned four additional sessions, which seems key.

Extended discussion of workmen’s comp.

Tom Stern (doctor) and insurance expert have come up with a ‘hybrid’ model for a publicly funded but not universal plan. Private insurance would still have a role. Some level of universal coverage. For employers, would be voluntary—could participate with public model or keep private coverage. Model included tax plan, with taxes on hotel stays, etc. Couple years of revenue would fund expansion of public health services, as first step.

Different states have quite different plans (CO, VT, WA, etc.)

Seems like time to nudge/push task force towards how to do universal healthcare financially.

Valerie requested folders with lots of info from the company featured in Fix It, and gave to each Task Force member. (They saw only part of Fix It; have copies of full-length Fix It and Big Pharma.)

Two people from Canada spoke about differences between Canadian system and living in Maine.

Next task force meeting: study groups: Controlling costs (incl. drugs); structure of health insurance market; public options.

Legislature has website for Task Force: very helpful. Includes all materials for task force members, past minutes and agendas, member bios.

Democratic Caucus tabling report Tabled at Deer Isle, Penobscot, Brooklin
Recap of Congo Church BigPharma showing 16-18 people

People asked, ‘Do legislators know about this?’ Very impressed with what MAC is doing.

Downeast Chapter goals for 2018 Status of Business Recruitments (goal – 50): Need refresher/guidance on how to do. Business names go on MAC site. What is the business advantage or benefit? Businesses would be better off. Business endorsement form is akin to yellow cards, but perhaps carry more weight.

Have 21 business endorsements already!

From David Jolly, has been very successful in getting business endorsements: Introduce yourself, say you’re working with MAC, advocating for universal health care for people in Maine, seeking endorsements from businesses, and that it doesn’t include signing up for anything except having the business name on MAC website.

We’re in the midst of developing effective messaging, even though there’s not much political traction. At recent One Payer States conf. call, clear that even “experts” aren’t certain of best messaging. We need to keep working on developing messaging. Medicare can be troubling, universal can be troubling, publicly funded can be troubling. How did messaging proceed in Canada? Royal Canadian study done, 1960s, talked about language. ‘Everybody contributes, everybody benefits—with dignity.’

Documentary Showings (goal – 6): Penobscot, planning for May; Deer Isle Town Hall, late April or May; another in East Blue Hill?

Set Tabling goals (sign-up for June primaries)

Showing of MAC’s new video with testimonies Can be used at house parties. About 15 minutes.

Testimonies from people with single-payer health care.

Australia: has had since 1970s. Has fee for service. Mostly nothing out of pocket for patients. Paid for with small increase in income tax. Some level of parallel private system—extent depends on who’s in power. Can intrude on public system.

Belgium: Since beginning of 20th century

UK: paid through income tax increase; health care is not free, but is paid for by people according to their means, via taxes


Larry Kaplan, US pediatrician: ‘health problems are not anyone’s fault; they are the nature of health and illness’

Iceland: population only about 330K; minimal charges at point of service; after out of pocket of $200-300, costs much lower. ‘logical and civilized way of delivering health care’

Canada: health care paid for by national and provincial taxes. Net benefit to families and communities of universal health care helping people live healthy and productive lives.

Taiwan: studied health care systems around the world; found US Medicare to be best, based their system on (expanded version). Each clinic and hospital has own pharmacy—no prescriptions. Each clinic is privately owned—free market system.

Many people mention absence of medical debt, people losing homes, etc. because of medical costs, lack of stress from medical costs contributing to health.

Other discussion With so many hospitals now part of EMMC, hospitals are changing approach and being tougher with both agencies and individuals in terms of financial. Kevin Hunt has seen hospitals requiring people to have written denial from ACA before considering for financial assistance.

Idea to have video conference between Canadian and US town(s).


UPCOMING EVENTS Date & Time Organizer Notes
4th Legislative Task Force Meeting Monday 4/2, 1 pm In Augusta
Presentation to Annual Meeting of Union 93 School Boards Tuesday 4/10, 5:30 pm Lynn Penobscot Elem School
Downeast MAC meeting Sunday 4/15, 4-5:30 pm Lynn  
6/12 All day – Tabling at Primaries 6/12, all day    


What will get done? By whom? By when? Notes: Status:
Set up monthly donation to MAC All Before next meeting If financially feasible; can be any amount–$5/month helps.
Seek business endorsements As noted in BH CoC list Before next meeting Can also go to businesses not on the list!
Talk with Jeff Milliken about planning another film showing in E. Blue Hill Randy & Peter Neblett Next meeting

 Next scheduled meeting:

Sunday, April 15, 2018, 4 – 5:30 pm

Blue Hill Library, Howard Room

Meeting adjourned 5:35 pm