One of the arguments often heard against universal healthcare in America is that it would restrict our freedom and choice. But how much freedom, and what real choices, do we have in our current healthcare “system”?
Phil Caper, MD, and Peter Arno, PhD, published an article on the Maine AllCare website in March 2020 on the illusion of choice in American healthcare. Phil is a retired physician and founding board member of Maine AllCare with decades of experience in healthcare policy, and Peter Arno is director of Health Policy Research at the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts.
In an Opinion piece in the New York Times in January 2020, former health insurance company executive Wendell Potter shatters the illusion of choice and exposes how it was created to sway voters.
“When the candidates discuss health care, you’re bound to hear some of them talk about consumer “choice.” If the nation adopts systemic health reform, this idea goes, it would restrict the ability of Americans to choose their plans or doctors, or have a say in their care.
It’s a good little talking point, in that it makes the idea of changing the current system sound scary and limiting. The problem? It’s a P.R. concoction.”
Historian Timothy Snyder explores these questions in a new book, Our Malady: Lessons in liberty from a hospital diary, based on his recent near-death experiences following a misdiagnosed case of appendicitis in December 2019. In the process, he realized that what seemed at first like a combination of mistakes, bad luck, and circumstance were actually symptoms of a failing healthcare system.
Read: What Ails America
Timothy Snyder, New York Review of Books, September 3, 2020
“If health care were available to everyone, we would be healthier not only physically but also mentally. Our lives would be less anxious and lonely because we would not be thinking that our survival depended on our relative economic and social position. We would be profoundly more free.”
Listen: ‘Our Malady’
Host Meghna Chakrabarti talks with Timothy Snyder in a recent episode of the On Point radio show on WBUR Boston.
New Maine AllCare website
We have a new website!
Check it out 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 look has changed and lots of new information and resources have been added, but some things haven’t changed–such as our mission and key principles.
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
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, for our economic well-being, and for greater equity. Please consider writing a letter to the editor about our need for universal health care–there is no better time than now.
COVID-19 proves the need for universal health coverage
In a letter to the Portland Press Herald on September 11, Dr. Jeffrey Graham of the Maine AllCare Bangor chapter outlines how COVID-19 is making it clear that we need universal healthcare.
“It is time for us to stand up for universal healthcare. This has only become more evident in these times of COVID-19. A pandemic means we truly are all in this together…This approach toward healthcare costs less, results in better outcomes, is better for business, and obviously is more equitable.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further Reading and Listening
Jason Abaluck, Yale Insights, September 2, 2020
Joe Lawlor, Portland Press Herald, August 30, 2020
Daniel M. Horn, M.D. and Jennifer S. Haas, M.D., New England Journal of Medicine, August 12, 2020
Bruce Bartlett, The New Republic, August 17, 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. 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 Field Director Abbie Ryder at email@example.com.
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 Abbie Ryder at the email address above. 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.
Follow Maine AllCare on Facebook and share posts and events.
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.
Your donation is tax deductible under Section 501(c)3 of the IRS code, to the full extent allowed by law.