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2005 Maine Health Care Town Halls: Citizens insisted on including single payer in their survey, then voted for it

Despite the best efforts of... Who, we shall see, below.

Back in 2005, The state of Maine held one huge house party -- via 21st Century Town Meeting -- on what to do about their 130,000 residents who lacked health insurance. Selected citizens received in the mail a 35-page Participant's guide, much like the present-day Daschle House Party participant guide, only bigger.

Sometime later several hundred of them gathered at a couple of designated spots and participated via videoconferencing [if I read it right] in debating possible solutions. when asked to address the following question, they were given 6 answers to choose from --

Participants then turned to consider the examples of choices related to reducing health care costs.

- Reduce insurance regulation
- Establish a high risk pool
- Reduce or hold the line on insurance mandates
- Insurance coverage limits on prescription drugs, tests and procedures
- Cap costs of health care providers and insurers
- Regulate insurance premiums

Not content to be force-fed preconceived answers they demanded that three more of their own choosing be added --

- Cap profits and executive salaries (added by participants)
- Get out of the private-for-profit insurance paradigm (added by participants)
- Help create additional options (added by participants)

After some discussion and multiple voting, how did they rank their top choices to answer this question?

• Choice #1: Get out of the private-for-profit insurance paradigm
• Choice #2: Regulate Insurance premiums
• Choice #3: Cap costs of health care providers and insurers

Smart folks.

Lastly, they were asked to address the question of how to increase access to health care coverage. The choices presented to them [and described in the participants guide that they'd had time to read through] --

- Expand MaineCare coverage [Maine's Medicaid]
- Expand the DirigoChoice Plan [subsidized private insurance]
- Mandate employer contributions to insurance coverage
- Require all Mainers have insurance coverage
- Create a single payer universal coverage system in Maine
- Combine expansion of MaineCare and DirigoChoice coverage and mandate employer contributions to insurance coverage (this last one was added by participants during the meeting)

What was their Number One choice for increasing access? Single payer.

At the end, questions were rephrased, and Mainers' choices for system-wide fixes were --

- Single payer system (48%)

- Combine options 1 and 2 (30%)
o Expand Dirigo Choice
o Expand MaineCare

- Get out of private for-profit insurance paradigm (8%)

- None of the above (13%)

So, guess who was one of the sponsors of the Town Meeting... Lake Snell Perry & Associates!

Yeah, that Lake.

Aux Daschle House Parties, citoyens!

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Comments

Submitted by lambert on

And Celinda Lake went on to bigger and better things, didn't she? How nice for everyone.

NOTE I spiced up your headline and your kead just a little.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i'm pretty clueless when it comes to writing for anybody outside of a fairly narrow audience. my idea of a stirring headline is more along the lines of REQUIREMENTS FOR MODELING TRACE METAL PARTITIONING IN OXIDIZED ESTUARINE SEDIMENTS. srsly.

i can see why celinda lake is frequently referred to as a 'top democratic strategist'. she's certainly managed to promote the herndon alliance's message and agenda effectively.

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Submitted by DCblogger on

thank you ever so much for this important piece of history. Wow, Wow, Wow. You put my copy and paste blogging to shame.

Celinda Lake, welcome to DC blogger's Google News Alerts.

Submitted by hipparchia on

please don't say that! your "c&p blogging" has been a h-u-u-u-g-e source of information for me, particularly for talking to people about this stuff irl.

adding her to your list, eh?

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

Team Kennedy Aligns Congress, Health Lobbyists Behind Overhaul

“An issue is how long you can hold everyone together, and Kennedy plays a major role, given his seniority and his expertise,” said pollster Celinda Lake, president of the Washington-based Lake Research Partners, in a telephone interview. “Honestly, his illness is a factor too. These are holding people together.”

Submitted by hipparchia on

see? what would i do with out your c&p?

geez, now i'm going to have to start making a list.

Submitted by hipparchia on

celinda, how much do we have to pay you to throw as much support behind hr676 as you've done for gac?

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

just keep blogging about her and get this all on search engines.

Submitted by lambert on

What this story proves is that if the people of Maine had stuck with consensus, they wouldn't have been heard, since "consensus" mean what the Village wants; it's another name for the Overton Window.

Of course, the Village loves consensus. With Bonus Celinda Lake quote! (Great Bloomberg story there, Hipparchia, if you want to amplify my subject line just a little bit..)

Submitted by ohio on

You know those one-gallon plastic mayonnaise jars a quarter-full of change with the crappy picture of someone dying of some terrible disease taped to them on the counter of almost every mom-and-pop convenience store in the country? The ones you read and find out the person dying has no money but have no money to pay for necessary treatment, so they (or their parents or their kids or their friends) are relying on your generosity so they can live?

We take pictures of them. The jar, the name of the store, the city and the state. And the outcome, if we can get it. Keep it short and sweet. We compile the record. We make a book. And we send it to Ms. Lake with this question:

"How about we pay your salary based on charity and give your fees to save the lives of these people?"

Submitted by hipparchia on

i'm always leery of publicizing people who are in distress. i realize that having jars out there with their names on them sort of implies consent to further publication, but it's creepy nonetheless.

otoh, it is a good illustration of why we need a true social safety net, relying on charity just won't cut it.

Submitted by ohio on

I saw one of these jars a couple weeks ago at the liquor store.

And they need a shitload of money. It's not like, "Please give nickles and dimes so we can take our little tyke to Disneyland," it's "Our three-year-old was diagnosed with this terrible disease that will kill him slowly and excruciatingly unless we find a quarter of a million dollars."

Shall we perhaps revisit this idea after we're done with Daschle?