In the course of human events, and the struggle for universal health care in the United States, 2017 will be a significant year. On Sept. 13, Sen. Bernie Sanders, along with 16 Senate co-sponsors, introduced Sanders’ Senate bill to provide “Medicare for all.”

Earlier this year, U.S. Rep. John Conyers reintroduced his House bill HR 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, which would transform our health care financing to one of universality and equity. The House legislation has been submitted every session since 2003. Rep. Chellie Pingree is one of the original co-sponsors. This session, the bill has a record 119 co-sponsors.

For Maine AllCare, the Maine state chapter of Physicians for a National Healthcare Program, these bills are markers of our goal of universal health care coverage for all. We believe every knowledgeable universal health care advocate would agree that a publicly financed and privately delivered national program modeled on Medicare would be preferable.

However, given the level of partisanship and deep philosophical divisions that exist in Washington, and the level of influence of the medical-industrial complex, it seems likely that a proof of concept in one or more states will be necessary before success will be achieved nationally.

We believe that Maine, because of our size and sense of fairness and community, is an excellent place to demonstrate the value and practicality of universal health care. Given the political will, we can develop the proof of concept with a publicly financed and privately delivered universal health care system on a state level.

We ask you to read and educate yourself about Sen. Sanders’ and Rep. Conyers’ legislation, consider the issues involved, urge Sen. Angus King to co-sponsor and call or email your elected officials in Washington and state legislators in support of health care for all.

Julie Keller Pease, M.D.


Henk Goorhuis, M.D.