David Jolly, a Maine AllCare board member and resident of the small town of Penobscot in Hancock County, is leading a pilot project to put the question of universal health care directly to voters at the municipal level. He asked the Penobscot select board to place the following question on the town ballot, and they agreed: “Shall the citizens of Penobscot call on the Maine Legislature to create a publicly funded health-care plan that provides every Maine resident with comprehensive medical care?” (For the full text of the referendum, click here.)

Jolly and other Maine AllCare volunteers have held two public events to discuss the ballot initiative, the state of health care in Maine, and why we need universal health care. Twenty people attended a hearing on October 17 at the Penobscot Elementary School, where they asked questions and shared their experiences navigating the health care system, as both patients and health care professionals.

Image of a person in blue scrubs with a stethoscope around their neck, wearing green gloves, holding a patient's hand. With the words A chance to send a message on universal health care over the image.The Ellsworth American published a commentary by Jolly on October 23, “A chance to send a message on universal health care.”

“Unfortunately, comprehensive reform of health care is unlikely any time soon at the federal level,” Jolly wrote. “But change is possible at the state level. Maine AllCare wants our state legislators to make that happen here. That’s why we hope the people of Penobscot will vote yes on this referendum, and why we ask all Maine residents to work with us for high-quality, affordable health care for all.”