China, Maine

China, Maine

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Rising Health Care Costs Impact Community Programs

During the 2013 Lown Institute annual conference Rosemary Gibson, a Senior Advisor to The Hastings Center and author of The Treatment Trap, explored the economic realities of growing health care costs in the town of China, Maine with Town Manager and Chair of Maine Quality Counts, Dan L’Heureux.

Like more than 2,000 towns across the US, China, Maine is a small municipality with less then 5,000 people. In April 2013, annual cost of health care premiums for 11 town employees in China, Maine was roughly $200,000 or $18,180 per employee. Meanwhile, some employees earn about $32,000 per year and the median household income in the town is approximately $50,000.

With the cost of health care insurance on the rise, what trade-offs are being made in China, Maine? Unfortunately public safety and community programs take a hit with flat or reduced spending for:

  • Street lights
  • Road repairs
  • Police salaries
  • Fire equipment
  • Library resources
Image of photo that appeared with US News & World Report story on China, ME: If roads in your town look like this, health care cuts could be impacting your town's ability to repair roads properly.

US News & World Report story on China, ME: If roads in your town look like this, health care cuts could be impacting your town’s ability to repair roads properly.

Some argue that more health care is actually good for the economy. In reality, the law of diminishing returns is at work. Harms from overuse result in negative productivity in the economy, from lost work days to human suffering which is immeasurable.

There are numerous China, Maines scattered across the US, all faced with similar realities. What are the compromises when balancing the rising costs of health care in your community? What goes without funding—school programs, senior support, local police and fire wages, or aging infrastructure? We invite you to share your story.

To learn more about the impact of rising health care costs in China, Maine, read the conference presentation.

 

 

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