Town Resolves asking legislature to act on healthcare pass in Bangor, Blue Hill, and Penobscot
In February and March 2020, the municipalities of Bangor, Blue Hill, and Penobscot approved resolves that request the Maine Legislature “to create an equitable health plan that provides every Maine resident with comprehensive medical care from birth to death.” The last time a Maine city or town voted in support of universal health care was in 2001.
Individual members of Maine AllCare are working to pass similar resolves around the state as another way to show the legislature and the governor that Mainers want a better healthcare system.
Please consider asking your town to approve a resolve. For more information about the process, contact Field Director Abbie Ryder at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Call to Action: Support emergency COVID-19 legislation
Physicians for a National Health Program has developed many resources related to COVID-19 and the need for universal healthcare. In May they issued a call to support emergency legislation that’s been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“As millions of American workers lose their jobs (and their employer-sponsored health benefits) during the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand is growing for Congress to guarantee health coverage for everybody in the U.S.”
The social transformation of U.S. healthcare
Peter Arno, an economist and director of health policy research at the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst and Philip Caper, a retired physician and founding board chair of Maine AllCare, published an article at the Health Affairs blog on March 25 on how healthcare in the U.S. has become dominated by profit-seeking and corporate influence.
“There is a large elephant in the room in the national discussion of Medicare for All: the transformation of the US healthcare system’s core mission from the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of illness—and the promotion of healing—to an approach dominated by large, publicly traded corporate entities dedicated to growing profitability and share price, that is, the business of medicine.”
Disrupting the business of healthcare
A recent article in The New York Times explores why 1.4 million healthcare jobs have been lost during the coronavirus pandemic.
“A sudden drop in health spending and employment amid a pandemic might seem like a paradox. But it reflects how the health industry tends to make its money: Treating patients for a deadly illness is far less profitable than offering them elective surgeries. When the federal government asked hospitals to stop such procedures to free up capacity, that changed their economics profoundly.”
Hospitals in Maine and elsewhere are also reeling from lost revenue and increased costs during the pandemic. Portland’s WMTW reported recently on how Maine hospitals are faring as their usual sources of revenue have been suspended at the same time that they have faced increased costs for personal protective equipment, coronavirus testing, and other measures. Maine Hospital Association President Steven Michaud estimates that Maine hospitals are facing losses of $250 million per month.
“Everything else a hospital does pretty much dried up – surgeries, any surgeries that could be put off, a doctor’s visit, lab, X-ray, everything that pays the bills was suspended,” Michaud said in an interview.
Voices of Maine
Another viewpoint: COVID-19 and the case for universal healthcare
From Dan Bryant, retired physician and Maine AllCare member, a recent letter in the Portland Phoenix explores how universal health care could better prepare us for the economic and healthcare needs of public health emergencies like the coronavirus pandemic.
“Millions of workers now suddenly uninsured are facing cruel choices: maintain pricey coverage through COBRA, try to figure out possible Medicaid or Marketplace eligibility, or give up and “go bare.” In a universal healthcare system: seamless coverage. “
The coronavirus crisis is making it all too clear just how essential it is for Americans to have universal healthcare that is affordable, not tied to employment, and publicly funded–for our health and for our economic well-being.
|Please consider writing a letter to the editor about our need for universal health care–there is no better time than now.|
|If you write, please send us a link.|
|If you want help putting a letter together contact Dan Bryant at email@example.com.|
Learn more and get involved
Check out our website to learn more about health care reform for Maine, who we are, the work we do, and how you can get involved.
Maine All Care chapters usually meet monthly, around the state, and our meetings are open to all. Due to the pandemic, in-person meetings are suspended for now; some chapters may hold virtual meetings, others are focused on other ways to keep the movement for universal healthcare for Maine going. Find your local chapter on our website.
We want to hear your stories: Has the pandemic changed the way you see healthcare in our country? How are you coping? Have you or someone you know recovered from COVID-19? Send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Send us your signs! We are building up our online movement and starting a series of Mainers showing their support for healthcare for all Maine. Send your photo to email@example.com. Be creative. We need to send a message that we are all in this together, we deserve better, and we can do better.
Make a donation to support Maine AllCare’s work–any amount makes a difference! You can choose a one-time gift, or set up a monthly donation, on our website.
And please spread the word!
Thank You for Your Support!
Maine AllCare promotes the establishment of publicly funded healthcare coverage for all Maine residents. This system must be efficient, financially sound, politically sustainable and must provide benefits fairly distributed to all. Maine AllCare advocates that healthcare, a basic necessity, be treated as a public good, since it is fundamental to our well-being as individuals and as a democratic nation.
Please forward this email to friends and family, and encourage them to sign up to receive the newsletter.
You can also mail your contribution to: Maine AllCare, P.O. Box 5015, Portland, ME 04101.
Maine AllCare is a chapter of PNHP, Physicians for a National Health Program.
Maine AllCare’s newsletter is written and edited by Elizabeth Solet