After reading Rep. Melissa Walsh Innes’ letter last week defending her vote on my bill, LD 290, I feel I must set the record straight. I put this bill in for my constituents who have consistently asked my why they can’t buy health insurance out-of-state as they can other forms of insurance. What I read were the same red herrings that her party used to kill the bill last spring:
• Consumers are protected when other items are bought out of state – why would we not have the same protections for health insurance?
• Unlike in Maine, out-of-state insurers are allowed to charge premiums based on risk. They can earn the same profit on higher-risk individuals as they can on lower-risk individuals. There would simply be no need to pick only the young and healthy.
• Out-of-state insurers would still have to abide by Maine’s minimum capital and surplus laws, reserve requirements, disclosure and reporting requirements and grievance procedures.
• The “health-insurance death spiral” began a long time ago with the implementation of the “consumer protection” mandates of guaranteed issue and community rating. Thousands have dropped out of the individual insurance market since then. We need dramatic action now.
Maine people far pay too much for health insurance – a higher percentage of our income than residents of any other state. By joining together with the other New England states, we would be part of a huge insurance pool and would have the advantages of much more competition.
Rep. Jonathan McKane