Recently we’ve seen ads, letters to editors and mailers from special-interest groups trying to mislead the public about important health-care issues debated last session at the Statehouse. As an organization dedicated to protecting consumers and promoting quality, affordable health care for everyone, we couldn’t sit idle and listen to these claims.
Last session, the Legislature debated a bill to allow out-of-state insurance companies to sell policies in Maine. Initially, the bill may sound good. But, it would actually reduce our quality of care and increase already high costs in Maine. Vital consumer protections – a foundation of Maine values – would be undermined. Protections like those that make it so no Mainers can be denied health coverage. Removing these key protections would move Maine from being a nationwide leader in health reform to the bottom of the race.
Another bill subject to attacks restructured funding for the Dirigo Health Agency. Bill opponents argued the law would add a 2 percent tax to our medical bills to pay for the program. That’s just not true. The new law replaced the controversial “savings offset payment” with a fixed monthly assessment on insurance companies. It’s not an additional or new tax. It’s not a tax at all. It’s simply a streamlining of funding.
While vast health reform will only happen on a federal level, Maine has been a shining example of what we can accomplish at the state level. The nation is watching; let’s stay ahead of the curve.
Joe Ditre, executive director
Consumers for Affordable Health Care