Insurance Committee members celebrate passage of Maine Health Care Bill of Rights, but more work remains
August 24, 2009
AUGUSTA – Members of the Legislature’s Insurance and Financial Services Committee joined Gov. John Baldacci on Monday to recognize the passage and signing of the Maine Health Care Bill of Rights.
The new law, LD 1205, will improve transparency in the health insurance marketplace, increase disclosure, give the state’s insurance superintendent more authority to oversee rate increases and allow consumers to more easily compare health insurance plans.
But while Monday will be a day to reflect on that achievement for Maine health care consumers, more work on the national level is also taking place. Directly after the signing of LD 1205, Reps. Sharon Treat, D-Hallowell, Terry Morrison, D-South Portland, and Adam Goode, D-Bangor, held a press conference on their support for national health care reform and a public option.
“Making the health care system in Maine a better place for consumers is a very important step forward,” said Treat, House chair of the Insurance and Financial Services Committee. “But without adequate access to health insurance, it doesn’t matter how many consumer protections there are. Maine people need health care costs to go down, and federal health care reform with a public option will do that in the strongest possible way.”
The Maine Health Care Bill of Rights makes a number of improvements to the state’s health care consumer protection laws, such as:
“Our committee and the Legislature as a whole did some good work this session, and this bill is an excellent example,” said Morrison. “We are encouraged by what the federal government has done so far, and we are hoping they can bring real health care reform to the country.”
Following the signing of LD 1205, the legislators held a press conference describing their support for a public option being included in the final reform package in Congress. Goode pointed to the incredibly high cost of health care in America as the major reason a public option should be included.
"It's getting tougher to get good, affordable health care, no matter how hard we work,” said Goode. “We need an American solution to fix health care that ends the greedy practices of the health insurance industry that puts profits before people. Mainers need a real solution, one that does not lie in the hands of the private health insurance industry. They’ve had years to clean up their act and fix health care.”
Rep. Sharon Treat, 242-8558
Rep. Terry Morrison, 831-0828
Rep. Adam Goode, 991-7000
Kyle Leighton, Communications Director, 287-1433