Replacing Big Government Health Care with Patient-Centered Reform

Maine Health Reform LD 1333 Obamacare

Maine’s past and present free market health policy experts partnered with the national Heritage Foundation to publish a report that serves as a guide for other states that wish to enact patient-centered, market-based health insurance reform to increase choice and reduce health care costs.

Health Care Reform in Maine: Reversing “Obamacare Lite” was authored by Joel Allumbaugh, director of the Center for Health Reform Initiatives at The Maine Heritage Policy Center (MHPC), and Tarren Bragdon, Chief Executive Officer of the Florida-based Foundation for Government Accountability and past-chief executive officer of MHPC.

“The Maine experience is both a warning of Obamacare’s likely effects and a practical demonstration to other states of how to enact sound free market health care reform in spite of Obamacare,” the report explains.

Reversing “Obamacare Lite” details the consequences of Maine’s past experiences with a Big Government, command-and-control approach to health care reform. This approach included guaranteed issue, which requires insurance companies to ignore the health status of individuals applying for coverage, and community rating, which restricts providers’ ability to adjust premiums based on age, even though older individuals consume an average of five times more health care services than younger adults.

The combination of unrestricted guaranteed issue and strict community rating resulted in an exodus of young people from Maine’s individual insurance market, and skyrocketing premiums for those who remained enrolled-young and old, sick and healthy-which has deterred younger, healthier individuals from purchasing coverage.

The report also discusses Dirigo Health, instituted by then-Governor John Baldacci in 2003, which promised to eliminate all uninsured in Maine by 2009. However, in six and one-half years, and a cost to taxpayers of $183 million, there were more uninsured Mainers in 2009 than in 2003.

Versions of guaranteed issue, community rating and Dirigo-like Medicaid expansions are all fundamental provisions included in Obamacare.

To reverse Big Government health care within the confines of Obamacare, Reversing “Obamacare Lite” explains LD 1333, Maine’s recently-passed comprehensive health reform package, as a patient-centered approach to achieve the following:

  • Guaranteed access to reinsurance funding for high-cost enrollees regardless of health status;
  • Individualized pricing for affordable options;
  • Ability to purchase insurance across state lines;
  • New coverage options for businesses joining together; and
  • New coverage options for the long-term unemployed.

“While other states have waited for Supreme Court decisions or congressional action regarding Obamacare, Maine charted a new course to replace Big Government health care with patient-centered reforms to reduce costs and guarantee quality coverage options for Maine individuals, families and businesses,” Allumbaugh said. “Maine’s approach, discussed in detail in our report, can serve as a national model for other states committed to positive reforms within the confines of the Obamacare straightjacket.”

CLICK HERE to read Health Care Reform in Maine: Reversing “Obamacare Lite”.

CLICK HERE for video from a Heritage Foundation-sponsored event titled “States Moving Away From Government Run Health Care”, which includes remarks by Maine Governor Paul LePage, and a panel of experts that included Foundation for Government Accountability CEO Tarren Bragdon.

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For more information, or for an interview with Joel, please contact Communications Director Chris Cinquemani at chris@mainepolicy.org