Our son lacks health insurance and I’m worried. He’s a writer, with irregular income that purchases rent and groceries, but not health insurance. As a primary care physician, I’ve seen too many lives destroyed by treatable problems. Consider 30 cars piled up on Interstate 95, or an uninsured healthy young friend, hospitalized for blood clots in his lungs. GoFundMe helped, but lifelong costs for expensive medicine will haunt him.

The U.S. has the highest health care costs and worst health care outcomes among developed countries. Maine AllCare, a not-for-profit, wants to improve Maine outcomes and lower costs. Maine AllCare engaged the Maine Center for Economic Policy to analyze costs of a publicly funded plan providing comprehensive health care coverage for every Maine resident.

The Maine Center for Economic Policy analysis shows that Maine could save $1.5 billion annually and approach the lower costs and better outcomes that other countries enjoy. The plan would eliminate premiums and out-of-pocket costs, and 80 percent of Maine residents would see a net gain in household income.

Municipalities and small businesses would save money, while private doctors, hospitals and large employers would break even. The plan eliminates marketing costs, huge profits and wasteful administration (such as tracking individuals’ deductibles and co-pays). We still have to finance health care, and the Maine Center for Economic Policy suggests practical alternatives for doing so.

I’d worry less, and our son would not have to move to Canada, or France, or Scotland, or…!

Does Maine have the political will to enact such legislation? Call your legislators!

William Clark, M.D.


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