|August 6, 2018
MMA Board Votes Opposition to Question One
The vote took place at the Board's summer meeting at the Village Inn in Belgrade Lakes at the invitation of President Robert Schlager, M.D. While acknowledging the importance of Maine seniors having access to home care services, the MMA Board of Directors voted to oppose Question one on the Maine ballot this fall. The Board also discussed a potential collaborative effort between the Board and the Medical Professional Health Program to address professional burnout and stress.
The citizen initiated bill would establish a universal home care program "to provide in-home and community support services to individuals and families determined to be eligible...at no cost to those individuals and families." The program would include (to the extent funds are available) formal care and informal care and ...access to in-home and community support services for eligible persons" regardless of income or assets. The program would be funded by a new 3.8% tax on individuals and families with Maine wage and adjusted gross income above the amount subject to Social Security taxes, which is $128,400 in 2018.
In doing its due diligence on the proposal, MMA staff met with both supporters and opponents of the ballot question and prepared a detailed analysis of the proposal for the Board. Board members were unanimously in favor of seniors having more access to home care but were concerned with the tax targeting only a segment of taxpayers and with the potential impact on recruitment of physicians into the state. There was also concern expressed about the details and structure of the private board that would administer the $300,000,000 raised by the tax annually. Finally, there was concern expressed that this type of proposal provides a piecemeal approach when what is needed is a comprehensive approach to health system reform.
The universal home care proposal will be the first question on the November 6 ballot. A vigorous campaign is expected from both proponents and opponents.Next Article >
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