A bad bit of legislation

This is in regard to the health insurance deregulation bill, LD 1333, that was passed in the Maine House of Representatives on May 5.

The bill eliminates the power of the superintendent of insurance to block rate increases; it allows the insurance industry to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions (changes the current guaranteed-issue law and creates a high-risk pool based on medical conditions); it permits insurers to charge three times as much for people past the age of 48; and many people who are now covered by their employers will be denied coverage because businesses will not be able to afford to cover them.

Rural Mainers will have to pay more than people in urban areas, since insurance companies will be allowed to vary their rates, according to people’s geographic locations. Rates will continually rise and people who need quality, affordable health care will hurt the most.

I cannot emphasize enough how bad the bill is for people and businesses.

Insurance companies are profiting from their individual policies while Mainers are failing to access affordable, quality health care. People should be able to get full treatment without worrying about the negative costs of depending on their health insurance.

Instead of pushing for legislation that only benefits the rich, Gov. Paul LePage and his Republican cohorts should start strategizing ways to build the state economy and ways to provide security to the people of Maine.

Mary Osborne, Lewiston

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Comments

Ray St. Onge's picture

What?

Dan, last week you made the statement you were against mandates, and here you espousing the values the Affordable Care Act which is full of mandates. Which is it, are you oppose to mandates or are you in favor of them, or is it you favor the ones from a Keynesian President.

Ray St. Onge's picture

Speaking of lying

Dan, you sit there and accuse people of saying thing that they did not say and then when asked to back it up you leave the blog. So if you want to be taken seriously, accept my wager and prove your point. I'll even help you, there is the link to the story where this started. http://www.sunjournal.com/letters/story/1038722 Please point out the time I made the reference to the President of Kenya. I did after you. The question is if I prove you wrong, will you leave? My guess is no.

Ray St. Onge's picture

you never accepted

Dan, you never accepted my wager. Beside I do not lose. If I was the one to make that reference, please quote me. Better yet, just post "I accept" and then I'm gone.

MICHAEL LEBLANC's picture

We have had regulators.

Since you believe the regulators kept insurance companies honest, how do you explain all the rate increases over the past 20 years? Somebody else was dishonest. Every year, the Democrat-appointed regulators caved. We could have saved a bunch of money by eliminating the regulators and just putting the process on autopilot, like the gas tax hikes.

The only chance the country has, let alone Maine, is if the Affordable Care Act is repealed and consigned to the dustbin of history, alongside HillaryCare.

Terry Donald's picture

Spot on Mary, spot on. If we

Spot on Mary, spot on. If we are to look closely, very closely at health insurance rates we will find we've been lied to, repeatedly by Mr LePage and his pals over at MHPC.
This table, published by the National Conference of State Legislatures shows that Maine has the lowest rates for families, couples and single people in the northeast.
http://www.ncsl.org/Default.aspx?TabId=14514
That's right, NH, MA, VT, CT, NY, RI even NJ have higher average rates than those in Maine. Further, the table shows that during the previous administration our rate of yearly increases was lower than all our neighbors. That means that Maine's insurance regulators were doing their jobs. Now LePage will take away the very regulations that did the work! Any wonder why the insurance industry wrote this new legislation for us??? It's a shame that our newly elected officials feel free to give our state away.

MICHAEL LEBLANC's picture

Very nice compilation,

Very nice compilation, notable for what it leaves out and assumes.
(1) All those stats are for employees in the private sector. There's no mention of individuals, self-employed, un-employed, and public-sector employees, all of whom have a higher percentage presence in Maine than in the other NE states.
(2) It assumes that "coverage" means the same from state to state, when the reality is it varies widely.
I just looked on Anthem's web-site for an individual policy for a couple, age 63, no dependents, $1000 deductible, 20% coinsurance. In NH it's $1600 per month; in ME it's $2200, 37% higher. There's no shame at all in our newly elected officials trying to bring our costs and coverage into line with our neighbors.

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.
- Mark Twain and/or Benjamin Disraeli

Terry Donald's picture

And thanks for your lies, I

And thanks for your lies, I mean statistics. You are comparing apples and oranges, you would need to pick apart those 2 policies to find the scads of ways that the coverage varies in them to get a real picture of the comparitive costs. Also those "quotes" have no assumptions for prior medical history and that's a very very big mulitplying factor, much bigger outside Maine's border. They really are 2 completely different policies.
There really are no national studies on individual policy costs that can give a very good comparitive table. The NCSL table I cited is the best option out there for any kind of comparison across state lines.
Taking an average across entire states is pretty much the only way to do a real comparison, and the NCSL does a good job of that. Yes, it is a study of group rates, private sector employers. But why would rates be substantially different whether the policy holder is in a group or self employed? Remember that the health insurance bill passed not only covers those with individual policies, but also those on employer policies with companies of fewer than 500 employees. This bill will cover just about every body in the state, except of course our elected officials.
You do know that the proposal was written by the insurance industry, and spoon fed to LePage by the MHPC don't you? You must also know that nowhere, at no time, have insurance companies lowered their prices on health insurance policies, even if competition was added. What happened when Mega Life started selling their much less expensive policies? What happened when Dirigo was added as an option in Maine? The individual and group policies still went up, but in Maine, because of the state's aggressive regulation the rates went up much slower than in our surrounding states.
Do you really believe that "market forces" will bring down health insurance rates? That's what every administration from Reagan through GW tried,,, how did that work?

MICHAEL LEBLANC's picture

NCSL is the only game in town ...

... so it must be true? If that works for you, I have a really nice bridge for sale in Brooklyn. Make me an offer - cash only. So your way is the only valid comparison? That makes it real easy on you, not so much for the rest of us.

I got those two actual quotes from anthem.com after plugging in all they asked for. Both listed a bunch of details about what's covered and what's not - they were substantially the same, except for items I mentioned earlier. If that's not good enough for you, nothing will do.

What happened when MEGA started selling their policies? A lot of self-employed people started being able to afford some coverage - non-comprehensive, high deductible policies that "cover" everything and pay for nothing, unless you go over that first high step. It's the insurance I have and pay for - without MEGA I would have nothing and would be risking everything on the next hospital visit. What do you have, Terry, and who pays for it?

What happened with Dirigo? The promise was it would cover, long before now, 400,000 Mainers. Years later, and millions of $$ down the toilet, it covers about 4000 people and enrollment is closed - and has been for about 3 years.

Market forces worked very well until Democrats succumbed to their delusion that they could do everything for everybody - and failed miserably.

MICHAEL LEBLANC's picture

The situation ...

... you describe, Ms. Osborne, was created by Democrats in the early 90s with their "mandates" that crippled free-market health insurance. They then doubled-down on failure with Baldacci's massively expensive Dirigo Health. LePage and Republicans are just undoing the damage while, at the same time, Obama is replicating all this expensive failure at a national level.

Similarly, over about the same time span, Democrat "strategizing" has produced high taxes, tangled regulations and a bloated and ever-growing state government. No wonder the electorate finally got fed up.

Maine is now open for business, even though some dopes stole the sign. Whether it's there or not, it's better than the previous sign: Maine: the way life should be - and would, if Democrats would stop meddling with it.

Bob Woodbury's picture

The sign...

...is probably in the same room with the mural. And with what you described about the Democrats, with this bill, the Republicans have caught up and passed them.

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