The Maine Medical Association is to be commended for its newly developed health policy statement, unveiled recently at its annual meeting in Portland (“Maine Medical Association says U.S. health care system needs an overhaul,” Sept. 13). It is the most detailed and comprehensive health policy statement issued by any state medical society in the U.S. It recommended fundamental reform of our existing complicated, fragmented and balkanized system by replacing it with a new comprehensive, simplified and adequately funded national or statewide system, covering all Mainers.

The MMA statement is the product of a nearly two-year effort by a 20-member ad hoc committee. It has been vetted by the MMA Board of Directors and is strongly supported by the recent meeting of the general membership of the association.

I understand that not all of my fellow members of the MMA are enthusiastic about this statement and its proposal for a major overhaul of the health care system – fearing it could disrupt their current business models. But that’s really the whole point of reform. They need to adapt their business model to the needs of patients and caregivers.

Sometimes, fundamental change is necessary to serve the public interest. Such change may require disruption and adaptation. In such times, we must follow our oath as physicians to “put the patient first” and “first do no harm” (including economic harm) ahead of all other considerations. That is the best way to continue to earn the high level of status and public trust we enjoy as physicians.

Medicare for all is the best way to achieve those goals.

Dr. Philip Caper

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