Maine Providers Standing up for Healthcare has been very active since its inception in early 2017, in hopes of moving Maine towards improved and more accessible healthcare. We are a coordinated group of volunteers motivated largely by our connection to the lives, fears, struggles, and triumphs of our patients and communities with the goal of improving outcomes in a just healthcare system. Here's the story of how we got started.
Barbara and Peter Shaw and Connie Adler ignited Maine Providers Standing Up for Healthcare (MPSUH, aka Stand Up Maine) in January 2017. Outraged about the new Trump-Ryan-McConnell threat to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) expansion of health coverage, they rallied hundreds of frontline healthcare providers. This group penned an open letter to Maine's senior U.S. Senator Susan Collins and funded a full-page publication in the state’s largest newspapers on February 3, 2017. It began, “We urge you to vote against repeal and work with your colleagues to improve the ACA…”
We saw a special opportunity as frontline healthcare providers in Maine: Senator Collins would be crucial to any ACA repeal bill. Furthermore, she had earned a reputation for open-mindedness and bipartisan collaboration as well as devotion to all Mainers.
In the spring and summer of 2017, we urged Senator Collins to oppose any bill that would reduce the number of Mainers covered by health insurance. Our efforts paid off. Over the course of three separate ACA repeal bills during the summer of 2017, Senator Collins was a crucial vote in preventing ACA repeal. She cited input from healthcare providers as a key factor in deciding how to cast her votes.
Since advocating for ACA defense and improvement, MPSUH has been working at the state level.
In mid-2017, we mobilized our network to quickly raise the required monies to fully fund an unfunded 2017 Maine law authorizing the creation of a bipartisan healthcare task force to explore public, private, and blended systems with which Maine could achieve universal health coverage. The task force is currently at work.
In late 2017, MPSUH enthusiastically joined the “Question 2” effort to expand Medicaid/Mainecare to over 70,000 uninsured Mainers. By a sizable 59 to 41% majority, Maine became the first state in America to expand Medicaid by a citizens’ referendum. Unfortunately, Governor LePage has refused to comply with this new law. Mindful of the medical evidence showing how broader health coverage improves morbidity and mortality, MPSUH has continued to advocate.