Support for Maine AllCare
The mission statement of Maine AllCare reads,“… promotes the establishment of publicly funded healthcare coverage for all Maine residents. This system must be efficient, financially sound, politically sustainable and must provide benefits fairly distributed to all …”
A lofty mission to be sure!
How would it work? It would be the primary source of coverage for those who currently have employer-based and individual coverage. It would cover the uninsured, and fill gaps for those on Medicare, MaineCare, VA, Tricare, and Indian Health. It would provide all the benefits of Medicare or Medicaid and add dental, vision and hearing benefits. No co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles. Reimbursement rate to providers would be at current Medicare rates.
According to an analysis from the Maine Center for Economic Policy on behalf of Maine AllCare, Maine spent $13.9 billion on healthcare in 2017. It is estimated that a public plan would decrease this to about $12.4 billion.
How would we pay for this? Some through Medicaid reimbursement. Some through federal subsidies. Some from what we are now paying for premiums. And some from additional taxes.
Why is this a good idea? Increased access to primary care and prevention would promote early diagnosis, timely treatment, and improved management of illness including expensive chronic illness.
Municipalities would see a net savings of 8.4 percent of current property tax. Employers would pay the same or less than they do now. For hospitals and providers, uncompensated “charity” care would be eliminated.
Please go to the Maine AllCare website and read about the details. I am personally paying over $20,000 annually with a $15,000 deductible for a single healthy 63-year-old. I know we can do better.
Disadvantages of a higher minimum wage
Many Maine teenagers, like myself, have a job and have to pay for their own needs such as gas, car insurance, cell phone bills, etc. The increase in their hourly wage will put more money into their pockets, which will overall help them. On the other hand, small businesses will suffer because they will have to pay their employees more. This could cause businesses to face the decision of firing some employees to ensure they aren’t spending more money on payroll than they are earning.
The wage increase can be more harmful than beneficial. For example, last January, the Bangor Redemption and Beverage Center closed down after 36 years of business, with the owner citing the wage increase as one reason for the closure. This was just a start to Maine businesses shutting their doors permanently, in part because of the higher minimum wage.
Another problem that may come about is inflation in the market. The prices for daily items, groceries, and services will rise. With the higher minimum wage, the overall value of money will decrease. People will pay more for the products they need because many businesses will have to charge more to ensure profitability.
Though increasing the minimum wage will benefit many Maine workers, small businesses will face disadvantages.
A difference between 1967 and today
An excellent economy? In 1967, my wife and I had been married for two years. I had a part-time job as a student and my wife was working a full-time job as a first-year school teacher. Our combined annual income was $11,400.
With this income, we bought a new three-bedroom house for less than twice our annual income and paid for a new car in 18 months.
This was at the start of our earning cycle. How many families today can do the same? Income related to buying power has fallen behind.