The pandemic has taught us the importance of a government willing to take responsibility for the health of the governed.

At the national level, Rep. Ro Khanna’s State-Based Universal Care Act (HR 5010) would allow states to use federal funds to support their own universal health care plans. Rep. Chellie Pingree is an original co-sponsor of this “states’ rights”  bill.

In Maine, the Maine Health Care Act (L.D. 1045), which would provide publicly funded health care coverage, was passed, contingent on enabling federal legislation. Resulting cost savings would allow provision of the plan’s comprehensive care while reducing total state health care expenditures and most individuals’ health care costs. The Legislature also drafted a Joint Resolution addressed to Maine’s congressional delegation, stating that “every person in the State should have access to affordable and high-quality health care,” and it urges congressional support for HR 5010.

Gov. Mills’ health care focus has been on establishing a state-based Affordable Care Act marketplace. But the sad truth is that the vast majority of policies carry with them imposing deductibles, which leave enrollees functionally uninsured, and do not reduce insurers’ administrative overhead. Only by the payer consolidation can we put these dollars toward the care of all Maine residents.

As a primary care physician, I implore Gov. Mills to join the states seeking to establish well-funded, less-expensive medical care for their residents by signing L.D. 1045, and that she advocate for the federal legislation that can make state-based universal coverage a reality.

Thomas Sterne, M.D.
member, Maine AllCare

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