Medicare for all

By Julie Keller Pease, M.D.
Bangor (Maine) Daily News, Letters, April 10, 2015

I was one of the many Atul Gawande fans in the audience at the Quality Counts conference in Augusta on April 1. My reason for being at the conference was to advocate for improving the health of all Mainers via a system of improved Medicare for all. If we expanded Medicare to include everyone in Maine, we not only would save money, but we would improve the quality of health care in our state.

Dr. Gawande delivered the same message about Medicare, stating “Maine is in the top quarter of Medicare outcomes and in the lowest quarter of Medicare costs.” Indeed, over four years ago, noted health care economist Dr. William Hsiao delivered a similar message to the Maine Legislature, estimating that if Maine moved to a single-payer system of health care, such as Medicare for all, the state would save $1 billion during the first year alone.

Not only is universal health care financially feasible. But if the system is designed and implemented well, it actually will reduce Maine’s spiraling health care costs.LD 384, a Resolve, To Study the Design and Implementation of Options for a Universal Health Care Plan in the State, has been proposed by Sen. Geoff Gratwick, D-Bangor, and several co-sponsors. This bill recently passed the Insurance and Financial Services Committee by a 10-1 vote.

Contact your legislators and urge them to support this bill when it comes to the full House and Senate for a vote.

Dr. Julie Keller Pease resides in Brunswick.