Because Maine is generally described as a rural state, access to transportation is understandably essential. Those of us who are unable to obtain a source of transportation for financial or other reasons are isolated from many of life’s essential needs. In addition, this problem prevents Maine businesses from servicing the needs of the rural population.

What if this problem could be solved through a new statewide program? The Maine AllCar Program.

Such a program would be funded through the increased taxes made available because of increased business success resulting from their increased access to the rural population. Under this state-run program, inexpensive cars would be provided to rural citizens who lack the ability to provide their own transportation.

It seems to me that this idea would have appeal to those members of the Legislature who feel a need to attract the votes of rural Mainers.

Feeling quite proud of my idea, I presented the scheme to a retired physician who lives in rural Maine.

He went on to describe a plan of his for statewide medical care, described as the Maine Single-Payer System. Under this program, all medical costs would be covered by the state. The program would be financed through state taxes. In theory, the disappearance of all medical premium costs currently paid by businesses and citizens would make the plan acceptable and logical to most voters – and would make increased financial burden unlikely.


The retired physician came up with his idea following a discussion with a neighbor who has a severely asthmatic son. The family is not able to access MaineCare and has no health insurance. During a recent early morning severe asthmatic attack (the third in a month), the family feared that going to an emergency room for care could stress finances enough to cause the loss of their home.

Although no part of the above scenario is real, I’m relying on an analogy that uses two real issues that do exist. One problem, pertaining to cars and rural transportation, is relatively easy to understand and would affect few people and few aspects of Maine life. The other (the latter) is far more complicated and affects many businesses and services in our state.

If both of these bills were to be presented to the Maine Legislature and only one could be passed, which one would we choose?

Would it be the more easily understood one with fewer long-term burdens, or would we have the courage to choose the difficult-to-understand one, the one that carries greater financial risk but far greater societal benefit? Would we devote more attention to our financial fears or to the medical and potentially life-threatening needs of our fellow citizens?

Our society is now being tested by medical costs that increase much faster than inflation, and by the subsequent increasing influence of big business and investment companies. How will we score on this test? It is time for us all to carefully consider all options, inform ourselves and choose sides. Lives are at stake. We must consider the needs of all of us and not only the powerful or the perceived desires of the medical-industrial complex.

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