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Committee on Health and Human Services

 

Public Hearing May 10 at 10:00 am

LD 1608  An Act To Expand The MaineCare Program To Cover All Citizens Of The State

AGAINST
Summary:

This bill establishes a single-payer health care program in the State that provides health 6 care services for Maine residents. The bill directs the Department of Health and Human Services to consult with the Department of Labor and the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, Bureau of Insurance to develop the program. The bill requires the State to implement the program in 4 phases, based on income, beginning in 2023 for those residents not already eligible for the MaineCare program. The bill also creates the MaineCare for All Implementation Task Force to advise the departments and make recommendations to fully implement the single-payer health care program. The program may not be implemented in 2023 without prior legislative approval.

 

Suggested Testimony: 

Members of the Health and Human Services Committee:

 

I write to oppose LD1608 which would force a single payer health care program on all residents of Maine.  The administration and finance of all MaineCare ( Medicaid  ), Medicare and Affordable Care Act (ACA) programs would be transferred to a single payer plan called MaineCare for All.   

 

This bill proposes an astounding administrative and financial takeover of medical plans in Maine to be completed in four phases “no later than January 31, 2025.”

 

My concerns include the following:

  1. Only one state has ever enacted a single payer system. Vermont, a liberal state with a small population of 626,000 enacted “Green Mountain Care” in 2011.  “In its first year, Green Mountain Care cost $4.3 billion, and financed in part by $2.8 billion in new state taxes, a 151% increase in state taxes.” * 
  2. Green Mountain Care was abandoned in 2014 due to escalating costs.
  3. As mentioned above, only one state has ever enacted a single payer plan which was abandoned in three years due to cost.  No state-run single payer plan exists.  MaineCare for All proposes implementation of a single payer plan in four years without adequate research and without any successfully functioning example. 
  4. There is no projection of costs or identification of any method to assess and project costs of the plan.
  5. There is no indication of ongoing funding sources for the plan.
  6. There is no indication of the administrative structure or of oversight of the plan after implementation in 2025.
  7. There is no indication of how provider rates would be established and whether access to care would be negatively affected under the plan. 
  8. There is no reference to the plan’s effect on worker’s compensation, state employee and teacher health plans, on employer self-funded plans and on retirement health plans.
  9. A significant federal hurdle is the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA); a single payer plan may be in violation of ERISA; this is not addressed.

 I am a Medicare recipient who paid into the system for years and I also purchase a commercial Medicare supplement. I am absolutely against any attempt to capture my federal Medicare funds or to raise my taxes in order to help create and impose a single payer plan in Maine. 

 

Please vote LD 1608 “ought not to pass”.

 

Thank you,

 *Kaitlin Hunter and David Kendall, “Single-Payer Health Care: A Tale of 3 States”, Third Way, July 17, 2019.


Public Hearing May 11 at 2 pm

LD 1548 AN ACT TO ALLEVIATE THE DISPROPORTIONATE IMPACT OF COVID-19 AND PUBLIC HEALTH OUTCOMES

AGAINST

 

SUGGESTED TESTIMONY:

 

Members of the Health and Human Services Committee:

 

My name is Jessica Sullivan, I am a health professional writing in opposition to LD 1548 which may disproportionately distribute federal Covid-19 funds in Maine and which appears to create a serious conflict of interest with the Chair of the recently formed and independent Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous and Maine Tribal Populations.

 

LD 1548 is sponsored by Representative Talbot Ross of Portland and Representative Craven of Lewiston. Among problematic statements in LD 1548 are:  “… at least 10% of discretionary funds not otherwise earmarked …that are received by the State from the Federal Government due to the pandemic … must be used by the department to address the needs of historically marginalized racial communities in the state.”   “Prior to using or obligating the funds the department shall consult with and accept recommendations from the Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous and Maine Tribal Populations.”

 

My concerns are:

  1. Exactly how much money could this be?  As of this writing there is no fiscal note attached.
  2. “Needs” is not defined and could be broadly interpreted.  Nowhere in the bill is reference made of “Public Health Outcomes”, or of any public health actions or initiatives.
  3. Although the bill would require the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to submit reports to its oversight joint standing committee Health and Human Services on how money was spent or allocated, the bill’s language clearly demonstrates that the Permanent Commission will have full autonomy in directing DHHS.
  4. According to the American Community Survey 2019 estimates*, Maine’s ethnic distribution includes:

            Total Population                                                                    1,344,212

White                                                               94.0%    at    1,263,287

Black                                                                  1.6%    at        21,983

American Indian/Native Alaskan                        0.7%    at          9,419

Asian                                                                  1.1%    at        15,323

  1. Given that Maine’s Black population is 1.6% and that Native Americans 0.7% combining to equal 2.3% of the total population. Why is an obviously disproportionate and open-ended allocation of “at least 10% of federal covid19 funds” being proposed ?  Also noteworthy; the Permanent Commission’s Report to the Legislature dated 2020 does not appear to mention Asians as a racial minority in Maine. Why are Asians excluded?
  2. Meeting minutes of the Permanent Commission are not available on maine.gov. Is the Permanent Commission acting in compliance with Maine’s Right to Know laws?
  3. Rep.Talbot Ross is both Chair of the Permanent Commission and a sponsor of LD1548 which clearly directs DHHS to accept Permanent Commission recommendations regarding the distribution of certain Covid-19 funds.  Rep.Talbot Ross is proposing a bill which places her in a position to strongly influence the allocation and spending of potentially millions of federal dollars without any legislative control or oversight. This appears to be a serious conflict of interest.

Please vote “ought not to pass” on LD 1548.  Thank you.

 

Jessica Sullivan, BS, MPH

Cape Elizabeth

*2019: ACS 1 Year Estimates Data Profiles. Table # DP05.data.census.gov

 

SPONSORS:

 

Representative Talbot Ross of Portland 

Rachel.TalbotRoss@legislature.maine.gov 653-3953

Representative Craven of Lewiston 

Margaret.Craven@legislature.maine.gov 783-1897

 

SUMMARY: 

This bill requires that at least 10% of discretionary funds that are received directly by the State from the Federal Government due to the pandemic related to COVID-19 and that are appropriated or otherwise directed to the Department of Health and Human Services be used by the department to address the needs of historically marginalized racial communities in the State.  The bill requires the department to consult with and accept recommendations from the Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous and Maine Tribal Populations to ensure the funds are used to address the needs of historically marginalized racial communities in the State.  It also requires the department to submit a report to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over health and human services matters on the use of the funds by December 15, 2021 and every 6 months thereafter.


Click HERE to Testify

Instructions:
1. click on link above ( https://www.mainelegislature.org/testimony/ )
2. Select Public Hearing and the Committee name
3. Choose the date and time
4. Select the LD # and type in your information and testimony

INCLUDE PERSONAL SHORT STORIES

Health Coverage

Next CCRC General Meeting

Our next CCRC General Meeting is on Tuesday, October 19, 6:00 p.m. Social / 6:30 p.m. Meeting. Refreshments in back of room.

New Gloucester Community Center, right behind the New Gloucester Town Hall. 385 Intervale Road, New Gloucester, ME

See Maps Below.
NOTE THAT GLOUCESTER HILL RD IS CLOSED FOR CONSTRUCTION.

Our speaker for this meeting is Aaron Kregenow,  Deputy Director of the State of Maine for the RNC.

Aaron will describe the initiatives the MeGOP has launched to help municipal candidates in the current election cycle.  The initiatives include blast emails to culled voters, providing Red Dialer access for automated phone dialing and 2,000 free minutes to boot, and assisting with targeted door knocking with the Advantage program.

These tools can be used NOW to get fellow Republicans to the polls and get our candidates into the win column.  So come and bring your candidates!  This information and the training the Maine GOP will provide will not only help our current candidates ---  it will also help everyone be ready for the 2022 elections and get Republicans elected up and down the ballot.

Events

EVENT: Defending America: The Present Threat to Freedom
Cumberland County Virtual Golf Tournament