Governor Baldacci Unveils Plan to Expand Health Coverage
April 4, 2007
AUGUSTA – Governor John Baldacci released his plans today to continue Maine along the path toward universal health care.
The Governor’s plan will build upon Dirigo Health Reform, Maine’s groundbreaking program to provide affordable, comprehensive insurance to the state’s uninsured and underinsured population.
“I am proud of what Dirigo has accomplished. We have helped small businesses provide insurance to their employees, we’ve given individuals a place to turn when the insurance market failed them, and we’ve saved lives,” Governor Baldacci said. “We’ve helped to contain costs and we’ve focused on preventative care, which saves money and improves quality of life. But now is the time to take the next step.”
“What we’re fighting for here is to make sure that quality, affordable health care is available to every family in Maine,” Governor Baldacci said. “Health care security is about real people, with real lives and real families. They work hard and play by the rules, yet too many of them are left out of the system. We will make sure quality health care is available for everyone.”
Under the Governor’s plan: • New cost containments will be placed on MaineCare, the state’s version of Medicaid. • Improvements will be made in the delivery of MaineCare services to improve patient health and case management. • Dirigo will be able to self-insure and will grow moderately. • Dirigo will be made more affordable for small businesses and will refocus on the uninsured and underinsured. • New rate regulations will be placed on the insurance industry. • Market reforms, including a reinsurance plan, will be instituted to increase competition and provide consumers with more choices. • Transparency will be increased in the rate-setting process. • Insurers will be required to provide discounts for nonsmokers and worksite wellness programs. • Once steps have begun to increase competition and make insurance more affordable, a play-or-pay system will be implemented. It will provide incentives for employers to provide insurance and will require individuals to have coverage.
“Health care reform is about more than just making sure everyone has insurance,” Governor Baldacci said. “It’s about encouraging people to be healthier and improving their quality of life. That’s better for people, better for the state and better for the economy.”