Maine GOP pushes Insurance Overhaul - Gov. LePage Signs the Bill

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Robert
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Joined: 04/01/2005 - 1:01am
Maine GOP pushes Insurance Overhaul - Gov. LePage Signs the Bill

I hope this is allowed to stand on its own. I feel when the GOP hits a home run, we should not bury it in an already off topic thread. But if it has to be moved, sigh.

AUGUSTA — Republican lawmakers in Augusta have long expressed a desire to overhaul how insurance is purchased in the state. On Friday, the GOP took an unprecedented, and surprising, step toward fulfilling that wish. In a move that infuriated Democrats,

GOP pushes surprise insurance overhaul through committee

Watcher
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Joined: 03/23/2008 - 12:32pm
Can you believe that the

Can you believe that the Democrats are actually bitc*ing that the Republicans did this on short notice without asking them what they thought and rammed it through. The Republicans responded that it would make no difference how many days they had to review it or how much discussion would be had...the Democrats would reject it under any circumstance. Seems like it is OK for Urkle to take that action but not the Maine Republicans.

This is a great move and the Republicans are to be loudly congratulated for standing up for the citizens!!!!

mainemom
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Joined: 03/09/2004 - 1:01am
More kudos to Rep.McKane!

More kudos to Rep.McKane!

Robert
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Joined: 04/01/2005 - 1:01am
I just hope the rest of the

I just hope the rest of the Republicans are on board with this. If any Republican is against this, we should shout out their names from the rooftops.

FLAMMENWERFER
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Joined: 03/27/2005 - 1:01am
Mitchell Stein, the policy

Mitchell Stein, the policy director with Consumers for Affordable Health Care, springs to the defense of the status quo: "It scraps fundamental things in consumer protections, rate regulations and a foundation that's been built up over the last 20 years." In short, "If it's broke, don't fix it."

Sharon Treat was the legislative leader in pushing through the fabulously successful Dirigo Health Plan. She naturally objects to insurance company trespassing on her filed of expertise What do they know? The NFIB gave her a whopping 13% rating in 2008, in case anybody suspects her of being anti-business.

J. McKane
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Joined: 05/22/2005 - 12:01am
the specifics were contained

the specifics were contained in a 29-page amendment that wasn't made public until Friday morning.

That is quite simply, wrong. The full amendment was heard on Wednesday. On Friday, a small amendment on captured insurance was offered to the full amendment. Every issue contained in LD 1333 has been heard and debated many times over the years. My testimony was essentially the same one I offered last session and the session before that. This wasn’t designed by insurance companies and in fact, they do not like the out-of-state insurance plan nor do they like the captive insurance plan.

"From what we do know, this proposal hurts small businesses, rural Mainers, the chronically ill and anyone over 50 who is not yet eligible for Medicare," Treat said.

Why they let her get away with statements like that is beyond me. We have enough actuarial studies and statistics, that show exactly the opposite, to sink a ship. But the real proof is already out there – look at Idaho, look at NH, look at North Dakota, etc, etc. It will also prove, once again, that Rep. Treat's Dirigo program was a very expensive failure.

Bottom line – this plan is going to lower costs for everyone and it will dovetail into the ACA.

Next step – Repeal the Certificate of Need.

Robert
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Joined: 04/01/2005 - 1:01am
Thank you Mr. McKane, I hope

Thank you Mr. McKane, I hope you keep us up to date on the progress of this bill. Let us know of anyone who becomes an obstacle.

Islander
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Joined: 02/13/2009 - 12:16pm
Thanks Rep Mckane, please

Thanks Rep Mckane, please keep us informed of the facts not the spin we will be hearing from the progressives.

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
Rep. McKane - gold stars, for

Rep. McKane - gold stars, for spine, and for good service to all of Maine. Thank you!

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
Rep. McKane - could you

Rep. McKane - could you please list the seven Republicans cited in the SJ article as supporting this measure? They deserve our public thanks.
Thank you.

BlueJay
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Joined: 04/18/2005 - 12:01am
Bravo to Rep. McKane and all

Bravo to Rep. McKane and all the Republicans on the committee. Thank you for pushing this through. I echo Robert's comment above. Please point out the names of those working to block this necessary reform.

Watcher
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Joined: 03/23/2008 - 12:32pm
Rep McKane - I too want to

Rep McKane - I too want to offer my sincere thanks for your taking on the establishment to help the Maine citizens get affordable insurance. More important, this effort will be a first step in breaking up the Liberal vise grip on how we live. Can you imagine that these people are against me making my own decisions regarding my own health care and insurance?

I also would like to know which of our legislators helped with this effort and especially want to know which Republicans are not on board with this movement. This is a golden opportunity for Republicans and Tea Party members to show that we mean what we say. We need a thunderous deluge of messages to the weak-kneed among the Republicans to let them know that they are going to act as if their jobs depended on it and ....they do depend on it.

IAC
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Joined: 06/03/2008 - 11:34am
Another sincere thank-you for

Another sincere thank-you for this start on the road to insurance sanity. The wife & I are 62 - that is, we're in the highest 5-year premium "bracket" - and self-employed. Comprehensive health insurance today would cost $2,700 per month. Maybe more - I haven't looked at the Anthem website for a few months. We have "catastrophic" insurance and are keeping our fingers crossed that we stay reasonably healthy for 3 years. Even that is $650/mo, going over $700 on 7/1.

The type of policy is appropriate. Maine's health insurance mess is a catastrophe. Thanks, Democrats, especially John B. Has he already gone to the Pentagon to screw up their health insurance?

2ndwind
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Joined: 12/19/2004 - 1:01am
... Sen. Joseph

... Sen. Joseph Brannigan...said. "...I've never seen anything ramrodded through committee without facts, discussion and public input. ...handed more than three inches of paper, including five-year-old data from another state. We had no time to read it — never mind time to understand the impact ...."

------------------

This is the funniest thing I've read all year. This from someone who undoubtedly applauded the "Christmas present" Pelosi and her gang of thugs gave us under similar circumstances

That being said, however, I'll reserve my thanks until I learn more about the proposal.

-------------

* Edited to comply with AMG 75-word Fair Use Policy from any single copyrighted source.
- NRS

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
The Republican Legislators

The Republican Legislators mentioned by Rep. McKane are on this committee:

*************

Insurance and Financial Services

Senator Rodney L. Whittemore (R-Somerset), Chair

Senator Lois A. Snowe-Mello (R-Androscoggin)

Representative Wesley E. Richardson (R-Warren), Chair

Representative Jonathan B. McKane (R-Newcastle)

Representative Joyce A. Fitzpatrick (R-Houlton)

Representative Susan E. Morissette (R-Winslow)

Representative John J. Picchiotti (R-Fairfield)

************

You can write and thank them at the following link:

http://www.maine.gov/legis/house/jt_com/ifs.htm

J. McKane
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Joined: 05/22/2005 - 12:01am
There are many others who

There are many others who deserved credit such as the Honorable Kevin Glynn and the Honorable Mike Vaughan. Rep Don Pilon (D-Saco) does also, as he was the first one to use the Idaho model that this plan uses. Senator Nancy Sullivan (D-Biddeford) even submitted an out-of-state bill this session (after fighting the idea for years). There are very few Rs who haven't at one time or another sponsored or co-sponsored some facet of health insurance reform.

This is the first step. There are other aspects of health insurance reform that are not included in this bill. And there are also health care reforms that need to be made. On the list - repeal of "Certificate of Need." More on that to come.

GW Rudmin
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Joined: 07/31/2005 - 12:01am
LD 1333 Source: Bangor

LD 1333

Source: Bangor Daily News Article About LD 1333

I urge the passage of LD 1333. It's about time. It's none of the state legislature's business from whom I by health insurance and what the terms of the product I buy are.

J. McKane
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Joined: 05/22/2005 - 12:01am
a policy that costs $300 for

a policy that costs $300 for the lowest-risk policyholder can cost no more than $450 for the highest-risk. Richardson’s bill would expand the range over time to 1:5, meaning the highest-risk policyholders could be charged as much as $1,500.
...if the lowest cost policy is still $300, which it won't be. Funny how the BDN goes for the shock value of the worst (and most unlikely) scenario.

It is important to remember that in Idaho and New Hampshire an average 60 year old pays about the same as an average 20 year old in Maine.

deadbeat
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Joined: 05/04/2005 - 12:01am
The fallout from rushing this

The fallout from rushing this through should be interesting. AMGers and others will not have a basis to complain if something similar is done by the D's when they again take control of the legislature sometime in the future.

Al Greenlaw
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Joined: 08/23/2002 - 12:01am
From the BDN article: “This

From the BDN article:
“This bill proposes multiple changes to multiple consumer protections that have been in place for 20 or 25 years,” Ditre said.

Yeah look where that has gotten us. Essentially an Anthem monopoly and outrageously high insurance costs.

Along with other critics, Ditre said the bill poses potential conflicts with the national health reform law and will prove disruptive to consumers, insurers and policymakers as the national provisions take effect.

National health reform that will be declared unconstitutional in a couple of years.

Finally a legislature that has taken on guaranteed issue and community rating and hopefully sent them to the dustbin of history. It is no wonder that the states who have the most competitive health insurance rates are those who either dumped guaranteed issue and community rating long ago, or who never adopted them in the first place.

Al

tardus
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Joined: 02/18/2002 - 1:01am
Deadbeat "The fallout should

Deadbeat "The fallout should be interesting...."

Yeah - like insurance will be affordable. Socialism will be stopped in its track. the 20+ year reign of terror by the radical left will be ended....

Deadbeat - it ain't fall out ----it is much needed RAIN after a 20 year drought.

Kudos to Richardson--and of course Rep. McKane - who has been fighting this battle since the day he walked in that building--when no one else had the cajones to do it.

zmogus
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Joined: 03/20/2004 - 1:01am
deadbeat.. Of course, there

deadbeat.. Of course, there will be fallout. We're changing the "system". Systemic change always causes disruption. Those who have health insurance paid for by the taxpayers (i.e., state employees, school and municipal employees) are all for the status quo. Those of us who have to pay our own way want more and hopefully cheaper alternatives.

I'm all for LD 1333. It's LONG overdue!

J. McKane
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Joined: 05/22/2005 - 12:01am
SUMMARY This amendment is the

SUMMARY
This amendment is the majority report of the committee and replaces the bill.

Part A makes the following changes to the community rating laws for individual and small group health insurance:
1. It changes the maximum rate differential for individual health plans on the basis of age from 1.5:1 to 5:1. The changes in rating for individual health plans are phased-in over a period of 4 years;
2. It changes the maximum rate differential for small group health plans on the basis of age and occupation or industry from 1.5:1 to 5:1. The changes in rating for small group health plans are phased-in over a period of 4 years;
3. It authorizes a maximum rate differential on the basis of smoking status from 1.5:1; and
4. It allows rating on the basis of geographic area outside of the rating bands for age.

Part B modifies the laws relating to guaranteed issuance in the individual health insurance market. Part B also creates the Maine Guaranteed Access Plan Association. The purpose of the association is to provide reinsurance to spread the cost of certain individuals among all health insurers. The amendment funds the guaranteed access plan through an assessment on insurers.

Part C permits insurers authorized to transact individual health insurance in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire or Rhode Island to offer their individual health plans for sale in this State if certain requirements of Maine law are met, including minimum capital and surplus and reserve requirements, disclosure and reporting requirements and grievance procedures. If out-of-state health plans are offered for sale in this State, the amendment requires that prospective enrollees be provided adequate disclosure in a format approved by the Superintendent of Insurance of how the plans differ from Maine health plans. Part C also permits domestic insurers or licensed health maintenance organizations to offer individual health plans of a parent or subsidiary health insurers licensed to transaction individual health insurance in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire or Rhode Island if similar requirements are met. It also permits domestic insurers and licensed health maintenance organizations to offer plans equivalent to any plans offered by a regional insurer. Individual health insurance policies, contracts and certificates may not be offered for sale in this State by a regional insurer before January 1, 2014.

Part D adopts the definition of medical loss ratio in federal law and the minimum medical loss ratio requirements of federal law. Part D also allows individual health insurance rates to be filed for informational purposes without prior approval by the Bureau of Insurance if the insurer maintains a minimum 80% medical loss ratio.

Part E repeals the State Health Plan and the Advisory Council on Health Systems Development. Part E also deletes all references in statute to the Governor’s Office of Health Policy and Finance, originally established in 2003 by executive order.

Part F repeals the geographic access standards. Part F repeals the authorization for the Superintendent of Insurance to establish standardized individual health plans by rule. Part F also permits insurers offering group health insurance to notify affected policyholders of a rate increase electronically as well as by mail. Part F clarifies that pre-authorizations are not benefit modifications requiring prior approval of the Bureau of Insurance and authorizes health maintenance organizations to offer deductibles in excess of $1000. Part F also clarifies that participation in the individual market is voluntary by removing the requirement that health maintenance organizations offering group coverage also offer individual coverage and the requirement that carriers issue coverage to groups of 1.

Part G authorizes the issuance of short-term health insurance policies for a term not to exceed 24 months.

Part H provides a tax credit to employers of 20 or fewer employees for the expense of developing, instituting and maintaining wellness programs for their employees in the amount of $100 per employee, up to a maximum of $2,000. A wellness program includes programs for behavior modification, such as smoking cessation programs, equipping and maintaining an exercise facility and providing incentive awards to employees who exercise regularly.

Part I amends the chapter of the Maine Insurance Code governing captive insurance companies. The amendment clarifies that, in the event of any conflict between the provisions of other state insurance laws and the provisions of the laws governing captive insurance companies, the provisions of the captive insurance company laws control, except that a captive insurance company insuring health risks may not provide individual health insurance and, if it insures health risks of employers, a captive insurance company must comply with the same requirements of community rating, guaranteed issuance and renewal and mandated benefit laws applicable to small group health insurers. Part I permits an association captive insurance company to require its members to be jointly and severally liable for its health insurance obligations and to meet financial obligations and wellness criteria established in a plan of operation and provides solvency standards applicable to such captives. The amendment would require the Superintendent to issue a license to an association captive insuring health risks for an association captive insurance company that requires its members to be jointly and severally liable and has an aggregate net worth of more than $100,000,000 and meets the requirements of the captive insurance law. Part I also designates that rules related to captive insurance companies are major substantive rules.

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
Posted: May 3 Legislature to

Posted: May 3

Legislature to vote on health care overhaul
Committee Republicans support the plan despite criticism that the implications are still unclear.

By Tom Bell tbell@mainetoday.com
MaineToday Media State House Writer

AUGUSTA — Republican lawmakers are pushing ahead on an ambitious bill that would overhaul Maine's health insurance system and create a new one designed to foster more competition.
...snip

... Legislature may vote on the bill as early as Thursday, said Rep. Wesley Richardson, R-Warren, who sponsored the bill, LD 1333. The bill was amended extensively to transform it into the Republicans' major health-care reform package of the session.

[url=http://www.pressherald.com/news/legislature-to-vote-on-health-care-overh...

angler.k
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Joined: 02/11/2006 - 1:19pm
" Individual health insurance

" Individual health insurance policies, contracts and certificates may not be offered for sale in this State by a regional insurer before January 1, 2014."

So only group insurance plans will be sold until then? Won't that leave out a whole bunch of people who need insurance?

thistle
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Joined: 08/15/2009 - 9:46am
(No subject)
J. McKane
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Joined: 05/22/2005 - 12:01am
Thistle - I dont' see

Thistle - I dont' see anything.

Here is the WCSH6 story

GW Rudmin
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Joined: 07/31/2005 - 12:01am
I emailed my local

I emailed my local representatives and state senators this afternoon urging them to vote for LD 1333.

Guizot
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Joined: 04/03/2011 - 3:46pm
Some real changes are coming

Some real changes are coming at last. Private insurance constricted by public law is the worst of both worlds.

Guizot
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Joined: 04/03/2011 - 3:46pm
Why was it a surprise? As a

Why was it a surprise? As a separate question, should it have been a surprise?

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
Maine Republican Party

Maine Republican Party

ACTION ALERT

Contact:
Christie-Lee McNally,
Executive Director,
Maine Republican Party
207-622-6247

FEAR-BASED POLITICS: "CONSUMERS FOR AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE" - MISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN AGAINST HEALTH INSURANCE REFORM
Maine GOP Calls on So-Called 'Consumer Group' to Stop the Lies

As legislation to reform Maine's health insurance market moves toward passage, a left-wing cabal of so-called 'consumer groups' is ramping up the false rhetoric. A group called 'Consumers for Affordable Health Care', run by former SEIU public relations coordinator Greg White, has begun spreading false claims that prey on the fears of the elderly and chronically ill.

White is spreading claims that LD 1333, the GOP health reform plan sponsored by Rep. Wes Richardson, would 'deny coverage to cancer survivors' , 'force cancer survivors to pay higher insurance rates', and 'require cancer patients living in rural areas to drive to Bangor, Portland or Boston for treatment'. All of these statements are demonstrably false.

LD 1333 is a comprehensive plan, based on a concept introduced by Democrat Rep. Don Pilon during the 123rd Legislature. It institutes a Guaranteed Access Plan that protects those with chronic illnesses, and implements market-based solutions to mirror states like Idaho that have dramatically lower health insurance premiums than Maine. Currently, a 40 year old in Maine pays $897 for an individual policy that would cost only $222 in Idaho. In addition, Maine has some of the highest deductibles in the nation - nearly 7 times the national average.

The Maine Republican Party is asking for citizens to call Greg White at Consumers for Affordable Health Care and tell him to stop spreading the lies.

White can be reached at 207-622-7083. Please call immediately and tell him it is unacceptable to prey on the fears of our most vulnerable in order to prop up a failed and onerously expensive health care program.

"Mainers need to stand up to left-wing bullies like Greg White," said Maine GOP Chair Charlie Webster. "Mainers have suffered under some of the highest insurance rates in the nation, and it is killing our economy. The working people of Maine deserve the same choices for insurance at the same rates as the rest of the nation, but partisan operatives like Consumers for Affordable Health Care don't want that to happen. We ask that the citizens of Maine call Greg White today and tell him it is unacceptable to spread these types of falsehoods with the intention of scaring the sick and elderly."

Call Greg White at "Consumers for Affordable Health Care" right now at 207-622-7083

Paid for and authorized by the Maine Republican Party | William P. Logan, Treasurer | 9 Higgins St. | Augusta | ME | 04330

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