Tell Gov. Mills: during this pandemic, everyone needs healthcare!

Gov. Janet Mills

Petition-2020

Gov. Mills must utilize every resource available to address the healthcare needs of all Mainers amid the COVID-19 pandemic which has initiated a public health and economic crisis unprecedented in our lifetimes. Important steps have been taken by Gov. Mills to respond to our circumstances, the situation however, is dire, and requires a far more comprehensive response. We need publicly funded universal healthcare now.

The pandemic has made clear the failings of our for-profit healthcare system. From hospitals to pharmaceutical companies, our system incentivizes efficiency for the sake of profit, over quality and capacity for care.

Thousands of Mainers across the state have lost jobs, income, and healthcare coverage and will become un- or under-insured. The pandemic is also exposing the deadly impact of racism in this country, as Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities are hit hardest. Universal health care is fundamental to ending the structural inequalities which are the root cause of these health disparities.  

At the federal level, the recently passed stimulus package includes half a trillion dollars to bailout corporations, who in the past year used massive tax-cuts to finance stock buy-backs and executive bonuses. We know that we can afford to care for all people.

Healthcare is a human right. With the spread of COVID-19, we will all not be safe unless we remove all economic barriers to healthcare and create a universally accessible system that provides screenings, testing, and treatments without cost. In addition to universal healthcare, we demand Gov. Mills take any possible actions to address the immediate health and safety needs of all Mainers, including those outlined in the letter below.

(If you represent an organization or institution that would like to sign on , please contact drew@maineworkers.)


Sponsored by

To: Gov. Janet Mills
From: [Your Name]

Dear Governor Mills,

The COVID-19 pandemic has initiated a public health and economic crisis unprecedented in our lifetimes. Important steps have been taken to respond to our circumstances, including implementing the statewide stay healthy at home order, ordering provision of free COVID-19 testing and screening, and calling for a Special Enrollment Period for Mainers to apply for ACA marketplace insurance. The situation however, is dire, and requires a far more comprehensive response. We need publically funded universal healthcare now.

The pandemic has made clear the failings of our for-profit healthcare system. From hospitals to pharmaceutical companies, our system incentivizes efficiency for the sake of profit, over quality and capacity for care. In Maine, this is apparent in the recent decimation of our program to stockpile protective medical equipment for public health emergencies, in an effort to lower state spending. In the end, Private insurance companies will benefit from this crisis. The cost of premiums are estimated to rise 4% to 40% nationwide in the next year.

Thousands of Mainers across the state have lost jobs, income, and healthcare coverage. A recent study estimates that 45,000 to 136,000 people in Maine will lose job-based insurance. 2,000-30,000 will become uninsured, joining the thousands more who were already uninsured before this crisis began. The pandemic is also exposing the deadly impact of racism in this country, as Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities are hit hardest. Universal health care is fundamental to ending the structural inequalities which are the root cause of these health disparities.

At the federal level, the recently passed stimulus package includes half a trillion dollars to bailout corporations, who in the past year used massive tax-cuts to finance stock buy-backs and executive bonuses. We know that we can afford to care for all people.

We believe healthcare is a human right. With the spread of Covid-19, we will all not be safe unless we remove all economic barriers to healthcare and create a universally accessible system that provides screenings, testing, and treatments without cost. In addition to universal healthcare, we demand the following actions be taken by Gov. Mills to address the immediate health and safety needs of all Mainers:

•Expand the Proclamation of Insurance Emergency to ensure that no Maine resident will incur any costs related to care for COVID-19, including treatment. The order should cover all residents, regardless of immigration status. People without insurance should also incur no cost for screening, testing, or care.

•Immediately seek Medicaid waivers and State Plan Amendments (SPA) to expand access to coverage in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP). These measures should include expanding coverage to higher incomes, and expanded coverage to immigrants.

•Use state funds to cover Mainers who are not eligible due to immigration status or income who have no other affordable coverage options. While waiting for Medicaid waiver or SPA approvals, use state funds to cover individuals who would be covered once the waiver or SPA is approved.

•Compel all businesses to follow a set of best practices designed to keep employees and the public safe, with a focus on the needs of frontline workers including social distancing, mitigating the spread of the virus on hands and surfaces, and ensuring that employees are able to stay home when sick or at high risk. Create strong mechanisms for enforcement.

•Expand the use of “presumptive eligibility” to ensure more eligible mainers have access to MaineCare more quickly.

•Prioritize every available resource to make COVID-19 testing universally available, and to provide adequate Personal Protective Equipment for all frontline workers.
Ensure that people with disabilities and underlying conditions are guaranteed equal access to care.

•Ensure that every Mainer has adequate access to mental health and behavioral health care, regardless of geography, income and immigration status.

Sincerely,
Southern Maine Workers’ Center and,

African Women and Development
Freeport Community Services
Gateway Community Services Maine
Health Equity Alliance
Homeless Voices for Justice
In Her Presence
Jewish Action Maine
Maine Access Points
Maine Immigrant Rights Coalition
Maine Inside Out
Maine Poor People's Campaign
Maine State Nurses Association
Maine TransNet
Maine Women's Lobby
Martin Luther King Jr. Fellows
NAACP Maine State Prison Branch
Operation Breaking Stereotypes
Partners for Dignity and Rights
Peace Action Maine
Pine Tree Youth Organizing
Portland Outright
Portland Overdose Prevention Society
Presente Maine
Resources for Organizing and Social Change
Social Justice Team, St. Ansgar Lutheran Church
Southern Maine DSA
Southern Maine Labor Council
The Church of Safe Injection Portland
Toxics Action Center