Tag Archives: MaineCare budget cuts

Ten chores every Maine Nurse needs to do this winter to fight the MaineCare cuts.

You are invited to browse previous topics of this blog. Click on the little button to the right that says sign me up. If you want to see a video of me in Nepal,  click here.

Yes, folks, I still read the Maine news from where I am now.

I still have an active Maine R.N. license, and I am still a member of ANA-Maine, the professional association for nurses in the Pine Tree State, and I was very pleased to see that the current officers are continuing a proud tradition of activism as they speak for nurses and patients.

Disclaimer: I  am not  presently an officer and I am not authorized to speak for the Association.  I support their position against the MaineCare cuts, wholeheartedly.

I got the  ANA-Maine position statement on the proposed MaineCare cuts, via email and I wish to chime in.

The Bangor Daily News  added a piece on the impact of the proposed cuts, to the hospitals and health systems of Maine. There isn’t much I can add, except that Maine is already struggling. You have a state with vast distances, weather challenges that tend to isolate people, and a system of small hospitals that are critical to the communities they serve.

Chores?

Part of daily life is to do your chores, and I propose that every RN in Maine add the following chores to their list.

1) find out who your State Representative is. You can go to the State of Maine website, go to the list of towns, and click on it.

2) find out who your State Senator is. similar to the above, go to the State Website. 

3) It goes without saying, that you should send them an email or a Tweet, or write a letter on the subject of how the cuts will affect you personally, but more importantly, how the cuts will affect the health services in your town.  This is doubly important if your rep or Senator is on the Health and Human Services Committee or the Appropriations committee. One person can make a difference.

4) attend a meeting of your town’s Republican or Democratic Town Committee. It doesn’t matter which. Health is a bi-partisan issue.  Go to the one you feel comfortable with. Raise the issue of the budget cuts there, when you go. Get the  email contact info of the town Chair, and get their Twitter info while you are at it. Twitter will allow you to keep abreast of issues in “real time.”

5) offer to meet with your Representative or Senator when they are back home in the district.   Give them a tour of your workplace (obviously, you need to get permission) and work to educate them as to what you do. You may be surprised to learn that they may not actually know what nurses do, or what your agency or hospital does, or how many people you serve.  This is true regardless of which party they belong to – Republican or Democratic.

6) Organize. nowadays, through FaceBook and the internet, this is easier than it used to be. Join the FaceBook page for nurses opposed to the cuts. Start collecting email addresses of  other nurses, start forwarding news to other nurses. send your list of email addresses to ANA-Maine, so they can add you to the list.

7) work to elect candidates who know the value of nursing and what nurses do. As above, this can be nonpartisan, because health is a nonpartisan issue. 2012 is an election year.

8) join ANA-Maine. you can invest in the future of nursing. Many of the state budget cuts are the result of federal policies, since one of the major parties in DC is doing everything they can to cut budgets and obstruct. We won’t succeed in Maine unless we can get help from Washington, DC

9) write a letter to the editor, start a blog, change the conversation. One of the reasons the politicians think they can make these cuts is, they never see any opposition.  We need to change the conversation away from  one in which MaineCare is somehow the enemy, and toward the idea that there are vulnerable persons who need help on a daily basis, to lead their lives. It’s true. They are there. The average citizen doesn’t see them every day, but nurses surely do. Every Mainer deserves dignity and respect. Just because they suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease, or mental illness, or physical disability, does not take away their humanity.

10) share this list of activities with every Maine nurse you know.  Click on the little button, below.we can do this, together.

and while you are at it, read my book about health care in Low Income Countries.  People complain about Maine’s health system, but they often have no idea about how most of the world does by comparison…..my book will not help you preserve Maine’s system, but it will remind you as to why we all do this job…….. hint: it’s not for the money!

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ANA-Maine statement on proposed MaineCare cuts January 2012, re-posted

reprinting this here as a public service.

will chime in with my own two cents, in a separate entry.

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American Nurses Association – Maine Position on Proposed Maine Care Cuts to Beneficiaries
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January 3, 2012
For Immediate Release: Contact Irene Eaton-Bancroft and Juliana L’Heureux
American Nurses Association of Maine
Cuts to eligibility for 65,000 Maine Care Beneficiaries

Position Statement on Governor Paul LePage’s Proposed Supplemental Budget
As presented to the Second Regular Session of the 125th Maine Legislature
The American Nurses Association- Maine is a constituent of the American Nurses Association (ANA).
ANA-Maine supports the right of every person to have access to quality and affordable health care throughout their life span, regardless of their socio-economic status. Access to health care is a basic human right of all people (ANA-Issues Brief: 2010)
The mission of the American Nurses Association is to advance the practice of nursing by improving the access to quality health care for all people.
For these reasons, the ANA-Maine supports access to health care for the proposed 65,000 people currently targeted for removal from the Maine Care benefit, as per the Supplemental Budget proposed by Governor Paul LePage, to the Second Regular Session of the 125th Maine Legislature.
Maine Care is an essential safety net for low income eligible people who include
(a) frail elderly living alone or in assisted living
(b)serious and persistently mentally ill
(3) people living with disabilities, and
(4) children.
Even without Maine Care coverage provided for eligible beneficiaries, an estimated 10 percent of Maine people still have no health insurance whatsoever. (Morning Sentinel- Kennebec Journal: Alice Knapp; January 2, 2012)
Removing another 65,000 people from the Maine Care benefit, without providing for their health care coverage, will unjustly cause further strain on Maine’s health care providers, many of them already facing deficits due to low reimbursement from insurers. .
American Nurses Association – Maine Position on Proposed Maine Care Cuts to Beneficiaries
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Additionally, the ANA-Maine is concerned about how the proposed Maine Care cuts are being considered and evaluated given the following impact information:
1. Cutting 65,000 people from the Maine Care benefit will impact on every community in Maine by putting at risk the public health and safety of people who will be without access to health care.
2. Providing health care to uncovered individuals will immediately lead to a rise in health care costs for charitable institutions, where the indigent will seek urgent help; as well as to hospitals, that will be forced to pass the cost of increasing amounts of free care to their private insurers and private paying clients.
3. Although cutting 65,000 beneficiaries out of the Maine Care benefit is a short term solution to growth in the program, in the long term, these proposed cuts will end up increasing the utilization of more expensive, and less supportive, or proactive services, like prevention and wellness initiatives.
4. Maine citizens who are currently employed in community health organizations where Maine Care beneficiaries are receiving primary care and social services, will loose their jobs. The quality and the integrity of many excellent community health programs and mental health facilities will be at risk as a result of high staff turnover.

Please contact the American Nurses Association of Maine for more information regarding our position on the Maine Care benefits cuts to 65,000 people as proposed in the Governor’s Supplemental Budget to the Second Regular Session of the 125th Maine Legislature.

Contact Information:
Irene Eaton-Bancroft, President ANA-Maine
ieatonbanc@roadrunner.com
Juliana L’Heureux
Chair, Legislative Committee
ANA-Maine
Juliana@mainewriter.com

 

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