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For Immediate Release

Date: 02/15/11

Rep. Les Fossel Named to Key Health Policy Council

AUGUSTA - State Rep. Les Fossel has been appointed to the Advisory Council on Health Systems Development, a key panel established to explore ways to hold down the cost of health care in the state. The council also will help mesh Maine's health care system with the new federal health law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA).

"I'm honored to be selected for this assignment," said Rep. Fossel (R-Alna), a second term legislator. "There are few things more critical to Maine's economy than bringing our health care costs in line with national norms. It's a very complex issue, but we have to deal with it effectively to have a strong economy that creates jobs and prosperity."

Rep. Fossel already has extensive experience in the health care field. He served last year on the new Joint Select Committee on Health Care Reform Opportunities and Implementation. In December, the committee issued an 84-page study of the ACA, entitled "Options and Opportunities for Implementing the Affordable Care Act in Maine."

"I was not a big fan of the federal law, because it really does nothing to control the relentless increase in overall health care costs," he said. "There are serious legal challenges regarding the constitutionality of parts of the law, and one federal judge recently struck down the entire thing. The issue will go to the U.S. Supreme Court. Regardless of what happens to the federal law, we must get Maine's health care costs under control."

In this new legislative session, Rep. Fossel serves on the Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services, which has jurisdiction over MaineCare, Medicaid and Medicare Part D as well as mental health services, prescription drugs and an extensive array of other health-related areas. He also serves on the Health Information Technology Committee.

The Advisory Council on Health Systems Development (ACHSD) was established to guide the development of the state health plan, to analyze and report on factors driving health care costs and to report to the Legislature regarding payment reform.

It also advises on the Capital Investment Fund, which helps assure that new building and technology in health care is needed and affordable. Over the past year, the council has documented some $400 million in potential annual savings. It discovered, for example, that emergency room use in Maine is 30 percent higher than the national average.

The council consists of 20 members - 15 appointed by the governor and five appointed by legislative leaders. ###

Jay Finegan
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 287-1445