Maine Healthcare Action, an independent nonprofit group, proposed a resolve that requires the Maine Legislature to draft a publicly-funded health care plan that provides comprehensive benefits and covers every Maine resident.

Pending submission of 63,067 valid Maine voters’ signatures, the resolve will go on the November 2022 ballot.Maine Healthcare Action believes that the health of all Maine residents is a moral and social justice issue that demands our full attention. Too many Maine people forgo housing, food or child care when a family member urgently requires health care services. Many families have lost job-related coverage.

Further, our shared reality is that we are entering year two of a deadly viral pandemic.Polling shows that universal health care is popular with the public. The Legislature has taken positive steps, but failed to modify sky-high premiums and deductibles, job-related coverage loss and other disparities in access that affect everyone. The overall picture is shameful, and completely unacceptable.Maine could and should provide all Maine residents affordable, comprehensive health care. Using the resolve process, a great example of direct democracy, Maine voters can urge the Legislature to carry out the will of the people, and take bold action.

Studies in Maine (and in other states and the reality in other countries) show that funding can be found. Can we find the will to take this sensible, urgent and bold step?

Let the people speak, and give each other the “gift of health care.”

William Clark, MD, of Brunswick is a board member with Maine Healthcare Action. Larry Kaplan, MD, MPA, of Cape Elizabeth is the organization’s chairman.

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