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Maine Information

Posted on Monday, January 28, 2013

By Geoff Gratwick | Bangor Daily News
For the first time in recent memory there are four doctors in the Maine State Legislature, and I am honored to be one of them. It is extraordinarily exciting to be part of this small group bent on returning medicine to its original goal: the care of patients.


Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012

By Philip Caper, M.D. | Bangor Daily News
About a year ago, facing a budgetary shortfall, the Maine Legislature had a knock-down, drag-out fight over Gov. Paul LePage’s proposal to save $220 million by throwing 65,000 Maine residents off MaineCare. At that time, I predicted that the Legislature “can look forward to a repeat performance in a year or two unless they have the courage, wisdom and bipartisanship to attack the fundamental flaws in the ways we finance and deliver [all] health care services.” Well, they didn’t. And now they are.


Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2012

By John Sytsma, M.D. | Sun Journal (Lewiston, Maine)The U.S. needs to take a serious look around and consider Medicare for all — the most efficient, not-for-profit system, with administrative costs similar to those in other countries.


Posted on Tuesday, September 25, 2012

By Dr. Sara Stalman | Kennebec Journal
To write about health care and politics is to write about the sacred and the profane. Our word "health" has the same etymological root as our words "whole" and "holy."


Posted on Friday, September 21, 2012

By Philip Caper, M.D. | Bangor Daily News
For the past 30 years or so, a debate about the proper place for competition vs. regulation in our health care system has raged. That debate has now become a central theme in the 2012 presidential race. Democrats favor a regulated system while Republicans favor a more market-driven system, nationally and in Maine.


Posted on Thursday, September 6, 2012

By Philip Caper, M.D. | The Portland Press Herald
The recent news about the possibility that nonprofit Mercy Hospital will be acquired by a for-profit chain owned by Cerberus Capital should raise red flags all over Maine.


Posted on Monday, August 27, 2012

By Philip Caper, M.D. | Bangor Daily News
Massachusetts, the first state that attempted to offer health care to all its residents and provided the template for national health reform, recently took the inevitable and much more difficult next step.


Posted on Thursday, August 23, 2012

By Sara Stalman, M.D. | Bangor Daily News
To write about health care and politics is to write about the sacred and the profane. Our word “health” has the same etymological root as our words “whole” and “holy.” It reflects ancient awareness that we are designed and guided by forces — sacred forces — that, although beyond human comprehension, we know to be greater than ourselves and to be good. “Health” has “the Sacred” at its very root.


Posted on Monday, August 6, 2012

By Julie Pease, M.D., et al. | Bangor Daily News
On the occasion of Medicare’s 47th birthday, we urge the immediate expansion of Medicare to everyone in the United States. We need a health care system that provides access to every one of us, no matter how sick, poor, old or unemployed we may be. We need reduced costs. We need improved health outcomes.


Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012

By Philip Caper, M.D.
The affirmation of the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, on June 28 by the U.S. Supreme Court was a big step forward for our country. But parts of the act itself are a step in the wrong direction.


Posted on Friday, June 15, 2012

By Philip Caper, M.D. | Bangor Daily News (Maine)
A few weeks ago, an article by Noam Levey of the Los Angeles Times caught my eye. It was titled “Global Push to Guarantee Health Coverage Leaves U.S. Behind” and it described how “even as Americans debate whether to scrap President Obama’s health care law and its promise of guaranteed health coverage, many far less affluent nations are moving in the opposite direction — to provide medical insurance to all citizens.”


Posted on Thursday, May 24, 2012

By Dina Mendros | Biddeford (Maine) Journal Tribune
The Affordable Care Act passed Congress in 2010. Now the country is awaiting a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court to see if part or all of the act will be struck down. And even if moves forward unscathed, some say the so-called Obamacare doesn't go far enough.


Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012

By Philip Caper, M.D. | Bangor Daily News (Maine)
A couple of weeks ago, nine medical specialty societies released a list of 45 medical tests and procedures they believed are significantly overused. On the heels of this announcement was a conference on “Avoiding Avoidable Care” attended by about 150 experts, mostly physicians. I attended.


Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2012

By Alice E. Knapp | Maine AllCare
Good people reasonably disagree on the merits of “Obamacare” (the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or “ACA”). Recent Congressional Budget Office estimates, however, project the ACA will leave approximately 27 million Americans uninsured in 2016 and beyond. While I might once have been persuaded that the law’s coverage gains justifies its failings, I now equate leaving 27 million Americans uninsured with having passed a law that freed but 90 percent of this nation’s slaves.


Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012

By Philip Caper, M.D. | Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Marcus Welby, M.D., the iconic general practitioner of 1970s TV, will probably never make a comeback. As I described last month, the overwhelming preference of young doctors is to go into medical specialties rather than primary care, mostly due to the much greater earning power of specialists.


Posted on Friday, March 16, 2012

By Philip Caper | Bangor Daily News
Health care reform has to be about more than just expanding health insurance coverage. It also has to be about making sure everyone has access to high-quality health care at a reasonable cost.


Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2012

By Philip Caper, M.D. | Bangor Daily News
When veteran print and TV journalist T.R. Reid visited Maine last fall, he claimed we could provide health care for everybody and do it for less money with better results. At 3:30 p.m. Sunday, the Maine Public Broadcasting Network will air his latest documentary, “U.S. Health Care: The Good News,” which shows how it can be done.


Posted on Tuesday, January 31, 2012

By Julie Pease, M.D. | Portland Press Herald (Maine)
For two years, while great effort has been spent debating health care reforms, costs for health insurance have continued to spiral out of control. Contrary to the assertions of Sen. Deborah Sanderson in a Dec. 30 column ("Legislature is tackling the causes of Maine's high health care costs"), there is simply no evidence to suggest that increasing competition in the for-profit insurance market will control health care costs, just as there is no evidence to suggest that federal reforms will be able to bring costs under control.


Posted on Friday, January 20, 2012

By Philip Caper, M.D. | Bangor Daily News
For more than a month, the Legislature has been focused on the governor’s proposal to cut $221 million from the Department of Health and Human Services budget by revoking Medicaid eligibility for about 65,000 low-income and disabled Mainers. His proposal has generated controversy, including marathon hearings, state house rallies, articles in many of Maine’s papers as well as a petition that garnered more than 8,000 signatures in less than two weeks, all opposing the cuts.


Posted on Monday, January 9, 2012

By John Benziger, M.D. | Letters, Kennebec Journal (Augusta, Maine)
Last year, people woke up to the fact that corporate greed and injustice are hurting Americans. We have a broken for-profit health care system. More than 50 million Americans are uninsured. Medicare and hospitals, along with other public programs like Medicaid, are under constant threat of new cuts by lawmakers. Meanwhile, last year, the nation's five largest for-profit health insurers netted $11.7 billion in profits, and their CEOs took $54.4 million in pay.


Posted on Monday, November 21, 2011

By Philip Caper, M.D. | Bangor Daily News
America is the only wealthy country in the world that does not guarantee its people access to health care as a fundamental right. More than 15 percent of Americans are uninsured and many more are seriously underinsured. That was the bottom line message of T.R. Reid, author of the best-selling book “The Healing of America” and the television documentary based on it, “Sick Around The World.”


Posted on Monday, October 24, 2011

By Philip Caper | OpEd, Bangor Daily News
For the past several decades, America has been experimenting with applying the principles of business to our health care system. Many believed that by unleashing the power of markets, health care costs would be controlled and access and quality improved.


Posted on Friday, October 21, 2011

By Philip Caper, M.D. | The Ellsworth American (Maine)
We need less, not more competition among health insurance companies. Competition does not work in medical care as it does in normal markets. The proof is in the fact that our current market-based system is failing.


Posted on Monday, October 10, 2011

By Richard C. Dillihunt, M.D. | | Letters, The Portland Press Herald
It is the matter of health care costs. Canada, with its universal health care and single-payer system, spends only about half what we do on health care. Canadians enjoy more money in their budgets for other things. Naturally, shopping and travel enter this picture.


Posted on Monday, February 7, 2011

By PHILIP CAPER, JOE LENDVAI and JULIE PEASE | The Portland (Maine) Press Herald
There has been a great deal of discussion recently about health care reform in America and in Maine. Many Republicans want to repeal last year's federal health care reform law, and most Democrats want to implement and improve it. In the meantime, pending full implementation of the law in 2014, health care costs for individuals, employers and the government continue to soar, and the number of uninsured Americans (including Mainers) continues to grow.


Posted on Monday, February 7, 2011

By Stephan Burklin | MaineWatchdog.org
A resolve requiring the Legislature to update a single-payer feasibility study is headed for the Insurance and Financial Services Committee on Wednesday.


Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011

By RICHARD C. DILLIHUNT, M.D. | The Portland (Maine) Press Herald
Health care costs are devastating the U.S. middle class in ways not seen in countries that have universal care.


Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Speaking in Maine | The Maine Public Broadcasting Network
Audio of lecture by Dr. William Hsiao at Bates College


Posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Maine Public Broadcasting Network
With health care costs high and rising, state lawmakers are trying to come up with new alternatives incorporating recent federal reform laws. Today in Augusta, a committee heard from a health care expert who says a single-payer system could save a billion dollars in Maine each year.


Posted on Friday, July 9, 2010

By Richard C. Dillihunt, M.D.The Portland Press Herald
Health care costs remain a major concern of all Americans. Inflation in such costs has become increasingly important in our fragile economy. Expanding alarmingly, much faster than that of the economy in general, these costs are dipping deeply into the ballooning budgets of middle Americans.


Posted on Thursday, March 4, 2010

From Unions for Single Payer Health Care
Recently, The Maine state AFL-CIO has developed a number of materials, including a power point presentation, leaflets, cost analysis, and other tools to reach out to local unions and rank and file members to help educate and arm them with the knowledge of the benefits of single payer health care and how it works.


Posted on Friday, December 11, 2009

by Matt Schlobohm | Public Policy & Poltical Mobilization Director, Maine AFL-CIO
On Friday October 23, 2009 the delegates at the Maine AFL-CIO’s 27th Biennial Convention unanimously passed a resolution calling on the AFL-CIO to convene, after the current healthcare reform process in Congress concludes, a democratic strategic planning process to develop a long term strategy to win Single Payer national health insurance.


Posted on Friday, April 17, 2009

By Phil Caper and Joe Lendvai | Bangor Daily News
The health care reform bandwagon is rolling in Washington. Committees in both houses of Congress are at work on health care reform, and many politicians are saying "now is the time." But meaningful reform is about a lot more than getting a few more people "covered." It must also be about reining in the out-of-control cost, making sure health care is affordable and accessible to everyone and assuring that the right number and types of health professionals are there to care for the millions who are doing without decent health care.