On March 23rd, Dr. Caryl Heaton delivered the last in a series of six “lunch and learn” presentations for state legislators, on the topic “Improving Health Care in Maine: What Can We Do?”
Dr. Heaton is a family physician with a special interest in health inequities. She presented her research and ideas for a system of health care for Maine that would address these inequities.
Almost two-thirds of Maine residents live in rural areas. Rural areas have higher rates of poverty, unemployment and economic distress, with lower rates of health insurance coverage and poorer population health. Fifteen Maine counties have health professional shortages in primary care, mental health and dental health.
“It costs more to deliver health care services in rural areas, in part because rural hospitals and providers need to cover the costs of keeping facilities open,” said Dr. Heaton. “Maine needs a payment system for rural hospitals that supports this ‘standby capacity’ and adequately funds primary and emergency care.”
Dr. Heaton outlined strategies to attract more health care providers to rural Maine. She also proposed a unified state health care program that includes global budgets for hospitals. She states, “A unified state health care program would provide better care to more people for less money, making the system more responsive to the patients it serves, without compromising provider payment.”
A summary of Dr Heaton’s talk can be viewed HERE. A more detailed handout about rural health disparities, including proposals to address these inequities can be downloaded HERE.
On March 16th, Les Fossel, small businessman and former GOP state legislator, gave the fifth in a series of six talks for state legislators. Sponsored by HealthCare for All Maine, the series is focused on “Improving Health Care in Maine: What Can We Do?”
Les proposed twelve possible steps to move Maine along the path to healthcare for everyone in Maine. Please download a brief summary of Les’ talk HERE. Additional information, including the rationale for all twelve steps can be viewed and downloaded HERE.
One of the twelve steps is already in the works. Senator Craig Hickman has introduced LD590, a resolution to amend the Maine Constitution to establish the right to health care. The Maine AllCare board has voted to support the resolution. Hearings will be held in the near future.
The next Lunch and Learn is scheduled for Thursday, March 23, from 12-1 pm in the Legislative Conference Room 121 of the Maine State House. Dr. Caryl Heaton will speak about health care inequities.
On March 2nd, Dr. Bill Clark, retired internist and chair of the Greater Brunswick Chapter of Maine AllCare, gave the fourth in a series of six talks for state legislators. Sponsored by HealthCare for All Maine, the series is focused on “Improving Health Care in Maine: What Can We Do?”
Dr. Clark gave examples of how difficult it is to get the care one needs, even when one is covered with insurance. “Insurance these days seldom meets expectations for helping people get care, particularly preventive or routine care,” he said. He cited Bureau of Insurance statistics on the lack of health insurance coverage: over 70, 000 are entirely uncovered, and 250,000 are uninsured for part each year.
The next session in the series is scheduled for Thursday, March 16, from 12-1 pm in Legislative Conference Room 121 of the Maine State House. Former Republican legislator Les Fossel will speak to the topic “The Way Forward”.
On February 16th, Dr. Ted Sussman, Houlton internist and chair of the board of HealthCare for All Maine, gave the third of a series of six talks for state legislators, sponsored by HealthCare for All Maine. The series is focused on “Improving Health Care in Maine: What Can We Do?”
Dr Sussman outlined the health care access problems facing rural Maine residents. Twenty-eight percent of rural Maine hospitals are at risk of closing, including four at immediate risk. Fifteen out of sixteen Maine counties have health professional shortages in primary care, mental health, and dental health. “Having health insurance that pays fees for ER visits, laboratory tests, or treatments is of little value if there is no Emergency Department, laboratory or treatment capability available in the community for the resident to use,” said Dr. Sussman.
“We need to pay rural hospitals and providers more,” he said. “This includes funding ‘standby capacity’ so that rural hospitals and providers can cover the costs to keep necessary facilities open and providers available. By reducing administrative complexity and costs, a publicly funded, universal health care system would free up the necessary funding to keep rural healthcare available and sustainable.”
View or download the information from Dr. Sussman’s talk HERE.
Dr. Sussman and Dr. Caryl Heaton of Blue Hill will continue the discussion about rural health care issues in a later session.
The next session in the series is scheduled for Thursday, March 2, from 12-1 pm in the Legislative Council Chamber, Room 334 of the Maine State House. Dr. Bill Clark will speak about Mainers’ health care needs.
On February 9, Dr. Henk Goorhuis, emergency room physician and member of the boards of Maine AllCare and HealthCare for All Maine, gave the second of a series of six talks sponsored by HealthCare for All Maine at Lunch and Learn conference for Maine legislators. The series is focused on “Improving Health Care in Maine: What Can We Do?”
Dr. Goorhuis discussed how our health care system affects Maine business, proposing “A Better Model for Healthcare in Maine”. Fifteen to 20 legislators and several members of the public attended the talk. The room was full of energy and interest, with a Q&A that generated a lively discussion. You can download the summary of Dr. Goorhuis’ talk HERE
The next Lunch and Learn is scheduled for Thursday, February 16, from 12-1 pm in the Legislative Council Chamber, Room 334 of the Maine State House. Dr. Ted Sussman will speak about the issues in rural health care. Download the flyer HERE.
On February 2, Dr. Geoff Gratwick, a former state senator from Bangor and prior chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, gave the first of a series of six talks sponsored by HealthCare for All Maine at Lunch and Learn conference for Maine legislators. The series is focused on “Improving Health Care in Maine: What Can We Do?”
The key points of Gratwick’s talk: The U.S. health care delivery system is sick – it is focused on profit, not patients. It is too expensive, wasteful, and confusing for patients and providers alike.
Maine spends 23-25% of its total state economic product on health care, the U.S. 18% and Canada and the E.U. 10-12%. The U.S. ranks somewhere between 21st and 35th in terms of population health.
“We are not getting our money’s worth,” said Dr. Gratwick. “And the obstacles to change are political, not economic or medical.”
View a copy of the 2-page handout accompanying Dr. Gratwick’s talk HERE.
The next Lunch and Learn is scheduled for Thursday, February 9, from 12-1 pm in the Legislative Council Chamber, Room 334 of the Maine State House. Dr. Henk Goorhuis will speak about the impacts of our health care system on businesses and municipalities.
HealthCare for All Maine has scheduled a series of six talks with Maine legislators, on the topic “Improving Health Care in Maine: What Can We Do?”
Former state senator Dr. Geoff Gratwick will deliver the first talk on February 2, at 12:00 pm in the Legislative Council Chamber (Room 334) at the Maine State House in Augusta. He will introduce the series and discuss the subject of complexity and waste in our current health care system, and potential solutions.
For more information, please email us at email@example.com
HealthCare for All Maine is very pleased to report that 31 of our 49 endorsed candidates were elected to the Maine state legislature. With their support, Maine can make real progress toward meaningful solutions to fix our broken and expensive health care system.
Endorsed candidates elected to the Maine Senate:
Troy Jackson (D)
SD 01 – Allagash
Mike Tipping (D)
SD 08 – Orono
Joe Baldacci (D)
SD 09 – Bangor
Anne “Pinny” Beebe-Center (D)
SD 12 – Rockland
Teresa S Pierce (D)
SD 25 – Falmouth
Tim Nangle (D)
SD 26 – Windham
Ben Chipman (D)
SD 28 – Portland
Anne Carney (D)
SD 29 – Cape Elizabeth
Endorsed candidates elected to the Maine House of Representatives:
J. Mark Worth (D)
HD 013 – Ellsworth
Holly Eaton (D)
HD 015 – Deer Isle
Nina A. Milliken (D)
HD 016 – Blue Hill
Ambureen Rana (D)
HD 021 – Bangor
Amy Roeder (D)
HD 023 – Bangor
Jan Dodge (D)
HD 039 – Belfast
Lydia Crafts (D)
HD 046 – Newcastle
Rebecca Jauch (D)
HD 051 – Topsham
Dan Shagoury (D)
HD 055 – Hallowell
Kathy Shaw (D)
HD 088 – Auburn
Adam R. Lee (D)
HD 089 – Auburn
Dan Ankeles (D)
HD 100 – Brunswick
Poppy Arford (D)
HD 101 – Brunswick
Melanie Sachs (D)
HD 102 – Freeport
Art Bell (D)
HD 103 – Yarmouth
Jane Pringle (D)
HD 107 – Windham
Amy D. Kuhn (D)
HD 111 – Falmouth
Rachel Talbot Ross (D)
HD 118 – Portland
Lois Reckitt (D)
HD 122 – South Portland
Kelly Noonan Murphy (D)
HD 125 – Scarborough
Margaret O’Neil (D)
HD 129 – Saco
Lori K. Gramlich (D)
HD 131 – Old Orchard Beach
Anne-Marie Mastraccio (D)
HD 143 – Sanford
HealthCare for All Maine thanks all of the 49 endorsed candidates for their efforts. Their leadership is so important as we work together toward our shared goal of publicly financed, high quality health care for every Maine resident.
Bangor, Maine – HealthCare for All Maine today announced their endorsements of candidates for the 131st Maine Legislature. They endorsed 37 candidates for the Maine House and 12 candidates for the Maine Senate. The endorsed candidates come from all parts of the state from Caribou to Sanford and Jonesport to Norway.
Dr. Geoff Gratwick, former state senator and member of the HealthCare for All Maine board said today, “The candidates we have endorsed share our commitment to affordable and high-quality health care for all Maine residents. We look forward to working with them in the upcoming legislative session.”
The HealthCare for All Maine endorsement committee made their decisions based on incumbents’ co-sponsorship or testimony in favor of universal health care bills during the 130th legislative session, and future support expressed through a recent questionnaire sent to all candidates.
Formed in July 2022, HealthCare for all Maine shares Maine AllCare’s mission to advocate for a publicly-financed health care system that provides comprehensive health care coverage for everyone in Maine. HealthCare for All Maine will advocate at the Maine State Legislature for passage of legislation that will provide medical, dental, vision, hearing and mental health care coverage for all Maine residents.
Despite gains in providing Maine residents with coverage through the Marketplace and via the expansion of MaineCare, fully 8% (~13,000) of Maine’s residents lack health insurance. Many thousands more are underinsured. Anyone in Maine may receive a surprise medical bill, and many will face bankruptcy because of illness.
Dr. Ted Sussman, internist, Maine AllCare board member and long-time Houlton resident has been elected President of HealthCare for All Maine’s Board of Directors. “All means all”, said Dr. Sussman. “Too many people are left out of our current health care system. We encourage Maine people to speak out, and to push their state legislators to enact legislation that will enable and encourage every Maine resident to access health care when they need it.”