Now that the election is over, we can look ahead to what may be possible for healthcare reform on the national level–and how federal changes could affect our work toward universal healthcare for Maine. President-elect Biden’s healthcare policy proposals focus on building on the Affordable Care Act and include adding a public option.
Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) recently posted a point-counterpoint on their website on this question: Would the addition of a public option to the U.S. healthcare system bring down costs for patients?
Commentary by healthcare policy expert Don McCanne:
“Compare adding a public option to our current expensive, administratively complex, highly dysfunctional health care financing system to replacing the system with a well designed single payer system – an improved Medicare for All. Not only would everyone be covered with a high-performance [Improved Medicare for All] system, the average costs for patients, except for the very wealthy, would be less than the average costs we are paying now simply because the entire system would be funded through equitable, progressive taxes – that’s on top of the sharp reductions in profound administrative waste and the efficiency of public purchasing.”
A Commonwealth Fund article (co-authored by Jeanne Lambrew, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services) explores the pros and cons of various types of public health insurance, from adding public-plan elements to private insurance, creating a public plan option offered alongside private plans, and instituting a single-payer system.
On our website under “The Case for Change,” Maine AllCare’s Julie Keller Pease outlines Why a public option is not enough for Maine.
Maine AllCare News
In August the Brunswick town council unanimously passed a “Resolution Supporting Equitable Health Care for All Maine Residents.” Brunswick joins Bangor, Penobscot, and Blue Hill, all of which have passed similar healthcare resolutions this year. Universal healthcare advocates are in the process of pursuing resolutions in other towns as well.
Would you like to ask your town to approve a resolution? Contact Maine AllCare at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more and get started. We’re here to help!
Check out our new website to see the latest news, learn more about what we’re doing and why we need universal healthcare, connect with a chapter near you, make a donation to support the work, sign up to volunteer, and much more. The new site was only possible thanks to the generosity of one of our supporters and donors, and the work of our Communications Committee, board members, and other volunteers. Huge thanks to all who made it happen!
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, including 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.”
Voices of Maine
In a letter to the Portland Press Herald, “Universal health care is essential to liberty,” Douglas Pride of Cumberland writes:
“The Declaration of Independence tells us: ‘We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.’ … Health care is fundamental to the pursuit of these rights. Indeed, without health care, none of these rights are attainable.”
If you write a letter to the editor, please send us a link. If you want help putting a letter together contact Dan Bryant at email@example.com.
Workers with health insurance face rising out-of-pocket costs
A new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows annual premiums for a family now top $21,000, and deductibles have more than doubled since 2010.
Read the article here.
Further Reading and Listening
Hidden Brain: Slaying the fee-for-service monster (September 7, 2020)
Health Affairs: How much has the number of uninsured risen since 2016 — and at what cost to health and life? (October 29, 2020)
Pitchfork Economics: Re-imaging capitalism, with Anu Partanen (author of The Nordic Theory of Everything) and Trevor Corson (February 11, 2020)
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. Chapters are meeting via Zoom due to the pandemic.
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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.
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