Written by Lynn Cheney, Maine Allcare; updated by Julie Keller Pease, MD. Maine AllCare
State-based SP organizations
Maine AllCare https://maineallcare.org/
(Maine AllCare is a chapter of PNHP, https://pnhp.org/chapter/maine/)
Maine Healthcare Action – Abbie Ryder email@example.com
National Affiliations: PNHP, One Payer States, Public Citizen
State-based SP bills
LD 1045. Sponsor Rep.Heidi Brooks, D-Lewiston; co-sponsors 5 (number limited by law)
LD 1045 seeks to provide comprehensive coverage for all Maine residents. This is accomplished by developing the Maine Health Care Plan. This includes several areas that are siloed and too often not affordable for Mainers, such as dental, vision, hearing and other critical healthcare treatments.
The Maine Health Care Board would be established as outlined on page 10 of the bill, section 7510. The Board would establish the Maine Health Care Fund to implement the Maine Health Care Plan. Premiums will be based on ability to pay. Other sources of income would be pursued, such as premium subsides under the Affordable Care Act. The Governor and the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development will seek all necessary waivers, exemptions, agreements and legislation required that all applicable federal payments to the State will be paid directly to the Maine Health Care Fund. The Maine Health Care Plan is secondary to federal government programs unless funding for these programs is transferred to the Maine Health Care Fund. Cost sharing is not allowed, except with room and board at long-term care facilities where income and assets are over the amount to qualify for assistance. Balance billing is not allowed for providers accepting the Maine Health Care Plan.
There is another universal healthcare bill, LD1608 (Rep. Mike Sylvester D-Portland) which would initiate a process to improve and expand Medicaid to every Maine Resident.
A C4 organization, Maine Healthcare Action (mainehealthcareaction.org) is gathering signatures for a statewide resolve that would direct the state legislature to establish a universal healthcare plan for Maine.
Advantages for SP in current context
The support base is growing. Maine AllCare has over 30,000 supporters of which 11,000 are active on its email list. The resolve campaign has signed up over 600 active volunteers for signature gathering. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree is an original co-sponsor of both Medicare for All and of Ro Khanna’s State-based Universal Health Care Act.
A study that was commissioned by Maine All Care to model how such a health system could be financed within the state is still a helpful tool. The study concluded that “a universal, publicly funded health care system that covers every Maine resident could save Maine $1.5 billion in total health care spending.” Links to the full report and executive summary are in the right sidebar. An audio of the hearing (12/16) can be accessed at this URL
Obstacles to SP in the current context
Governor Mills is not a supporter of state-based universal healthcare. The legislature is pressured by time and financial constraints. The insurance and hospital industry are active opponents.
Goals for SP movement in ME 2021-22
Legislative hearings, mobilization of supporters to testify. Support the state resolve campaign.
Signature gathering for state resolve. Ongoing education of state legislators. Lobby Maine’s CD-2 Congressman to support state-based universal healthcare.
Where can people find news about Single Payer in your state and/or join a group?
Maine AllCare. https://maineallcare.org/
Maine Healthcare Action (firstname.lastname@example.org)