As a physician, I found Amy Harris’ “Bridging the access to healthcare gap” article in the June 2022, issue of Amjambo Africa of great interest. After opening the article with “Accessing healthcare in the U.S. is complicated, even for those born here,” she proceeded to list a variety of sources of help obtaining it: Greater Portland Health, MaineHealth’s Access to Care program, Maine Access Immigrant Network, Catholic Charities, Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, In Her Presence.
What Ms. Harris did not mention, however, was the effort here in Maine (and nationally) to make those sources of help unnecessary by changing our healthcare system itself. This would involve replacing private (commercial) health insurance, which now covers about half of the people living in Maine, with a public plan that, together with the public plans we already have (MaineCare, Medicare, Children’s Health Insurance Program, and others), would ensure that all people living here have good healthcare that would be simpler to deal with; that would not be tied to their place of work; that would include free choice of doctors, therapists, and hospitals; that would control healthcare costs overall; and that would be paid for by a healthcare tax – based on ability to pay – replacing current healthcare premiums and charges for specific care.
Anyone interested in learning more about this approach should contact Maine AllCare, a nonprofit organization educating about, and advocating for, publicly funded, privately and publicly provided, universal healthcare (maineallcare.org).
Daniel C. Bryant, M.D. , Cape Elizabeth