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
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!