Maine: The Way Life Could Be 9/6/22: Health- Care & Insurance

Producers/Hosts: Jim Campbell and Amy Browne
This series is made possible in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission

Maine: The Way Life Could Be, a series in which we look at challenges and opportunities facing Maine in the lifetimes of people alive today.

This episode:

At the outset of this series, we invited anyone interested to participate in a Zoom call to help us gather information on what folks saw as major challenges facing Maine people during the lifetime of those alive today. One of those challenges mentioned by several of the participants on that call was affordable and accessible health care.
It’s important to note right at the beginning of today’s program that health care and health insurance are two different things that are sometimes conflated. Health care refers to the care that providers such as doctors, nurses, therapists, and others provide to people with health issues.
How to pay for that care is a separate challenge, often provided in part by either for-profit insurance companies or government programs such as Medicaid, for those with very low incomes; or Medicare, for those age 65 and over.
On today’s program, we will speak with two retired physicians who, over long careers, took somewhat different paths but wound up at the same conclusion about how to provide Maine people, and all Americans, with affordable, accessible health care.


Dr. Geoff Gratwick practiced medicine with a specialty in rheumatology in the Bangor area, and in clinics across Maine for over 40 years. He eventually became so concerned about what he saw as problems with Mainers getting access to quality health care that he ran for the Maine Senate after serving 9 years on the Bangor City Council. He served four terms in the Maine Senate before leaving because of term limits, and while there served on the Opioid Task Force, as well as on several legislative committees. He was a key player in establishing the state’s Health Care Task Force which has been charged with determining how to make health care in Maine universal, affordable, accessible and of high quality.

Dr. Phil Caper, in addition to practicing as a physician, spent a good part of his career in policy areas related to health care. From 1971 to 1976, he was a professional staff member on the United States Senate Labor and Public Welfare’s subcommittee on Health. He served on the National Council on Health Planning and Development from 1977 to 1984, chairing the panel from 1980 to 1984. He has also taught at Dartmouth Medical School, the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, and worked in private industry trying to improve the technology of hospital medical records.

Both guests are active with Maine AllCare


Maine AllCare
From the National Bankruptcy Forum, 10/22/21:
10 Statistics about US Medical Debt that Will Shock You
Health care executive pay soars during pandemic, Bob Herman, AXIOS, Jun 14, 2021
Universal health care could have saved more than 338,000 lives from COVID-19 alone, Rachel Nuwer, Scientific American, June 13, 2022
Sudden resolution of Anthem and Maine Med dispute leaves more questions than answers, Caitlin Andrews, Bangor Daily News, 8/20/22
2022 Maine Shared Community Health Needs Assessment Report
Hidden charges, denied claims: Medical bills leave patients confused, frustrated, helpless, Joe Lawlor, Portland Press Herald, 8/21/22

About the hosts:

Jim Campbell has a longstanding interest in the intersection of digital technology, law, and public policy and how they affect our daily lives in our increasingly digital world. He has banged around non-commercial radio for decades and, in the little known facts department (that should probably stay that way), he was one of the readers voicing Richard Nixon’s words when NPR broadcast the entire transcript of the Watergate tapes. Like several other current WERU volunteers, he was at the station’s sign-on party on May 1, 1988 and has been a volunteer ever since doing an early stint as a Morning Maine host, and later producing WERU program series including Northern Lights, Conversations on Science and Society, Sound Portrait of the Artist, Selections from the Camden Conference, others that will probably come to him after this is is posted, and, of course, Notes from the Electronic Cottage.

Amy Browne started out at WERU as a volunteer news & public affairs producer in 2000, co-hosting/co-producing RadioActive with Meredith DeFrancesco. She joined the team of Voices producers a few years later, and has been WERU’s News & Public Affairs Manager since January, 2006. In addition to RadioActive, Voices, Maine Currents and Maine: The Way Life Could Be, Amy also produced and hosted the WERU News Report for several years. She has produced segments for national programs including Free Speech Radio News, This Way Out, Making Contact, Workers Independent News, Pacifica PeaceWatch, and Live Wire News, and has contributed to Democracy Now and the WBAI News Report. She is the recipient of the 2014 Excellence in Environmental Journalism Award from the Sierra Club of Maine, and Maine Association of Broadcasters awards for her work in 2017 and 2021.