To the Editor:
A recent study by Maine Center for Economic Policy on behalf of Maine AllCare (available at maineallcare.org) showed that a universal, publicly funded health care system covering every Maine resident could save Maine $1.5 billion in total health care spending. This report went to our Governor, legislators and the media and yet they are having the same old conversation about tweaking the existing insurance-based system. This does a disservice to the people of Maine who deserve better. Total healthcare spending with the current system was 25 percent of Maine’s economy in 2018, and is projected to be 27 percent in 2026. That’s $16,000 per person per year.
Under a plan to cover everyone in Maine with no fee at point of service, 80 percent of families and individuals would see a boost in household income due to savings on insurance and out-of-pocket health costs. Most employers would pay the same or less than they do now, with predictable costs based on number of employees, while eliminating the burden of choosing and managing coverage plans. Workers compensation premiums would be cut in half. Care would continue to be provided by the same private doctors and hospitals that do it now. These providers would be reimbursed at Medicare rates, and elimination of uncompensated charity care and claims processing would ensure that they continue to receive reasonable compensation that covers their costs.
A related statewide healthcare survey by Maine AllCare shows that Mainers overwhelmingly want universal, publicly funded healthcare. It’s time for the media and Legislature to get on board.