In this Nov. 8, 2018 file photo, the U.S. Medicare Handbook is photographed in Washington. The Senate has confirmed President Joe Biden’s pick to run U.S. health insurance programs, putting in place a key player who’ll carry out his strategy for expanding affordable coverage and reining in prescription drug costs. Obama-era policy adviser Chiquita Brooks-LaSure will be the first Black woman to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, which also administers children’s health insurance and the Affordable Care Act. Credit: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

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I spent the past five years purchasing insurance in the Maine “marketplace.” It was complicated and unpleasant, with glitches, surprises, and increasing premiums for decreasing coverage. Perhaps will be an improvement. But I’m not optimistic.

I am now enrolled in Medicare. I thought it would be simpler. Instead I received a mountain of solicitations from insurance companies. How to choose? Like many of us, I cannot predict what my healthcare needs will be in the upcoming year. Do I want to risk a less expensive and less comprehensive plan, hoping I remain healthy?

One of every three dollars in our health care system goes to anything but healthcare. The hundreds of thousands of dollars that went into the development of the CoverME website are dollars that did not go to health care. The slick insurance brochures? Money spent on advertising that could have gone to health care.

A single universal system would be simpler and more affordable. Indeed, a study by the Maine Center for Economic Policy in 2019 demonstrated how a state-based healthcare system could cover all Mainers and reduce health care spending by $1.5 billion annually.

It is long past time for us to overhaul our overpriced and complicated health care system. A group of Mainers are working on a ballot initiative, asking the Maine Legislature to implement a universal health care system for all Mainers. Please sign their petition to put health care on the ballot in 2022. For more information, visit

Dr. Julie Pease


Maine Allcare