May 20 2018 Downeast Minutes

Maine AllCare Down East Chapter

5/20/18 meeting minutes

Blue Hill Library, 4 – 5:30

Attending: Betsy Braunhut, Lynn Cheney, Liz Solet, Diana Page, Bonnie Preston, Michael Grillo, Anne Hayes-Grillo, Kevin Ross, David Jolly, Ted Fletcher, Valerie Dornan, Sam Bergman, Joe Lendvai, Phil Caper, Ruth Ryan, Caroline Werth. Minutes: Liz Solet

Approve April minutes Lynn Cheney Motion to accept minutes; second; passed.
Treasurer’s Report Lynn for Kevin Hunt No activity since last meeting. $1055.44 in DE chapter funds, held by state MAC—stock dividends given at end of 2017 for our use.

Request to purchase materials (pop-up tent, projector, dvd player): moved, second, passed unanimously.

State MAC Board report Lynn From Lynn: A big focus of the May meeting of the MAC Board was with respect to contractors. Bill Bayreuther, a grant writer, presented the results of his study into prospects, Chris Cayer and Abbie Ryder will be hired this summer/fall for more field organizing (think “chapter support”), and an ad, which was posted for an Executive Director, has 12 responses to date. Bayreuther wants us to come up with “projects” to propose for the grants and there are questions as to affordability of an ED. Financial contributions are needed.

The Legislative Task Force agreed the system is broken but is having difficulty agreeing on fixes. Tom Sterne and Dean Felton have proposed a hybrid plan but is it complex and needs clarification. Geoff Gratwick does believe we will see some legislative proposals from this effort in January.

We are getting two studies done as a consequence of our King Foundation grant – one by Maine Center for Economic Policy and one by Gerald Friedman – “How can this work financially in the State of Maine?”

From Phil Caper: Tom Sterne—new MAC board member, retired MD.

Dean Felton—experienced and very knowledgeable about insurance landscape.

Conflict between the complexity of setting up single payer in the real world (what Leg. Is trying to tackle) vs. simple, engaging, inspiring messaging that’s needed for public education and outreach.

Next task force meeting: May 23, 1-4 pm (no public testimony)

Link to Task Force materials:

Recap of COA & Deer Isle Fix It Showings Betsy, Joe CoA: Sparse attendance (6-7, including students). Good questions, people were enthusiastic and supportive. Good publicity.

Deer Isle: Sparse attendance, all but one from the choir. 

Discussion: How to reach beyond the choir? Need to reach people who are struggling with health care, and younger people. With whom can we be aligned? What groups are working with younger people effectively? What media does MAC have? Social Media? How do we reach out? Guessing that 80-90% of people need a solution for health care, but don’t know it yet.

Types of groups we could connect with: people in need, or potentially in need, such as for specific health issues, sports associations (where people may get hurt frequently), and more.

Abbie and Chris coming back on board will provide much-needed expertise, experience, and energy in terms of outreach. We need a strategic plan for outreach and public education.

Concerns about aligning with different groups: we may reach more people from some demographics by aligning with other organizations, but turn off other demographics. We need to reach a wide swatch of people, at all ages.

Concern about well-funded resistance by health insurance companies that may come our way.

Have any states encountered litigation threats from insurance companies claiming unfair state competition with private enterprise? Yes, for workmen’s comp, at least. Can be tough if state enterprise is competing with private enterprise.

Fundamental message: we’re paying for a healthcare system that is very expensive and not very effective or fair.

Malcolm Gladwell: notes that you only need to reach 3-4% of population to get traction and make change.

We can’t afford media buys, etc., but in our smaller state, we can reach many people one to one.

At recent Democratic convention, many people and candidates talked about universal health care—felt like a tipping point.

Vermont: Lessons Learned Dr. Sam Bergman One analysis, and Sam’s view: in VT, lack of specifics and details about funding structure were major factors in failure of VT single payer.

Other views: They were not able to effectively convince people that savings would be realized, even though taxes would increase.

Gov. Shumlin was also pressured politically.

Business community was vocally opposed, suspecting higher costs.

Maine legislators get health insurance coverage at very low cost.

Lynn mentioned the 2002 Mathematica study for Maine:

One Payer State conf call, this past Friday: Gerald Friedman presented: in most states, it’s a ‘big ask’ for people to accept higher taxes and that’s a huge hurdle (and difficult to get across the substantial benefits).


Review of Maine AllCare Messaging All Tabled until next meeting. Please review MAC Mission, Key Principles that were circulated and are on the MAC website. FAQs also on the website.
Upcoming events (see list below) Lynn June primaries: tabling in Bucksport (have about 500 yellow cards from Blue Hill, only about 31 from Bucksport). Could also do Penobscot. Lynn will follow up to get coverage for tabling.

Summer events: Fishermen’s Day in Stonington, St. Francis Fair, Blue Hill Fair, Congo Church, Flash in the Pans?

“Parking Lot”
  Reach out to ME Municipal Assoc.? (Many municipalities and organizations offer health insurance through MMA).


UPCOMING EVENTS Date & Time Organizer Notes
5th Legislative Task Force Meeting May 23, 1-4 pm In Augusta
Penobscot Democrats FixIt showing May 23, 6:30 pm David Jolly Penobscot School
6/12 – Tabling at Primaries 6/12, 7 am-8 pm Bucksport, Penobscot?
Downeast MAC meeting Sunday 6/17, 4-5:30 pm Lynn  




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!
Make sure that Downeast chapter meetings are listed via Weekly Packet and Jeff Next meeting


Next scheduled meeting:

Sunday, June 17, 2018, 4 – 5:30 pm, Blue Hill Library, Howard Room

Meeting adjourned 5:30 pm