Maine’s Injured and Disabled Workers: A Humanitarian Challenge and an Economic Opportunity

December 15, 2014 by

Workers hurt on the job have no lobby in the State House, so little fanfare accompanied the Bureau of Labor Statistics release on workplace injury this week. But of the states submitting data, Maine’s rate of worksite injury is the highest in the nation: 5.3 injuries or work-related illnesses for every 100 workers. Nineteen Maine workers died on the job in 2013. This data means a lot for … Read the rest

In States Refusing Federal Coverage Funds, Rural Hospitals Pay the Price

December 1, 2014 by

Fifteen hundred hospital beds have vanished in rural America since 2010. The cause of the disappearing beds is no mystery:  rural hospitals are closing – and at a quickening pace.  Federal sequestration cuts and lower reimbursements from public and private insurers have hit U.S. hospitals’ bottom lines with a one-two punch.  But rural hospitals are hit particularly hard, because they are caught in a vise where they serve higher rates Read the rest

ACA cost saving measures help turn McAllen, Texas from national basket case to bellwether in five years

September 25, 2014 by

Health reform hasn’t only reduced the rate of uninsured to levels not seen since the 1990s; it also is reducing healthcare costs, which ultimately will make healthcare more affordable for everyone.  The small city of McAllen, Texas grabbed the national spotlight five years ago as a place where costs and unneeded procedures were out of control.  Now, McAllen is making headlines again.  But this time, it’s a health … Read the rest

Health Reform is Making History – But Maine is Slipping Behind

September 22, 2014 by

History is happening: the percent of Americans without health coverage is the lowest it’s been since the 1990s. Medicare costs are declining – not just slowing – making the program more sustainable in the future. Maine’s 2015 marketplace premiums are either flat – or lower than last year. Health reform is working.

I happened across a time capsule this summer, and it brought home for me exactly how huge an … Read the rest

Maine’s Working Families Deserve to Earn a Living Wage

August 27, 2014 by

The new report by the Alliance for a Just Society, “Families Out of Balance: How a living wage helps families move from debt to stability,” provides sobering data about how much Mainers must earn just to make ends meet.

Simply put, wages in Maine are insufficient to cover the cost of living – and even though the recession is officially over, too many people remain under- or un-employed.  The … Read the rest

A Divide and Conquer Strategy that Risks the Health of Maine’s Seniors and Working Poor

August 5, 2014 by

The classic “divide and conquer” strategy,  often attributed to cunning Julius Caesar, operates on the premise that pitting your adversaries against each other before you strike  is one sure path to victory. In a recent press release heralding $25.4 million in excess MaineCare funds now available to shore up struggling nursing homes, the LePage Administration appears to be following Caesar’s formula.

This funding is great news for nursing homes in … Read the rest

Maine’s bankrupt health policy

July 3, 2014 by


This year, 1,300 Mainers will be saddled with catastrophic health costs.  Here’s how it could have been avoided – while c
reating thousands of jobs and boosting state GDP.

Medicaid-bankruptcy 7-3-2014Yesterday, the White House Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) released a report examining the differences between states that have accepted federal healthcare funds to expand Medicaid and the minority of states – including Maine – which still have not expanded.  Fittingly, … Read the rest

Percy Spencer’s Candy Bar: Health Care Reform and the Innovation Economy

June 24, 2014 by

Health Care Reform and InnovationYesterday, my scientist brother promised my eight-year-old son a new Hot Wheels car if he could research and explain how the microwave cooked his lunch.  My son vanished upstairs and came back triumphantly explaining how a scientist named Percy Spencer noticed the candy bar in his pocket melted after he stood next to an active radar set.  Mr. Spencer came back later with popcorn kernels in his pocket, and sure … Read the rest

Everything comes with a cost: the perilous (and unnecessary) fate of the Portland Free Clinic

June 4, 2014 by

Despite the historic opportunity offered by the federal funds available to expand Medicaid to cover Maine’s uninsured, millions of dollars earmarked for our state have been lost – more than $143 million since January 1 -repudiated in a din of partisan politics.  The governor vetoed majority votes in favor of Medicaid expansion five times.  But decisions have consequences – and one of the consequences might be the future of the … Read the rest

Between the lines of stockholder calls, refusing Medicaid expansion bad for hospitals’ balance sheets

May 14, 2014 by

First-quarter financial results are in, and the CEOs of some of America’s publicly-traded hospitals systems are finding Medicaid expansion is good for business. And they are reporting big differences between their facilities in states that have expanded Medicaid and the hospitals in states still refusing federal healthcare dollars.  In states that have accepted federal healthcare funds and worked to promote the ACA, hospital executives are realizing significant increases in the … Read the rest

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