Maine Government News
Governor Baldacci Forms Committee to Work on Implementation of Federal Health Care Reform
April 23, 2010
AUGUSTA – Governor John E. Baldacci yesterday formalized the public process by which the State will plan how to implement the comprehensive federal health care reform law signed by President Obama in March.
Using the existing infrastructure of the Governor’s Office of Health Policy and Finance, State health officials, the Advisory Council on Health Systems Development and others, a steering committee will begin the planning to meet requirements under the federal law. The Governor’s Office and its Health Reform Implementation Steering Committee will also work with the Joint Select Committee on Implementation created by the Maine Legislature this session, stakeholders and local, federal and tribal governments.
“Maine has already taken aggressive steps to improve the access to quality, affordable health care,” said Governor Baldacci. “Many aspects of the new federal health care reform mirror what we have done in Maine, and now the new federal law gives support to additional ways to expand coverage and contain costs. We are in a strong position to implement many of the federal reforms, and we need to proceed with a full analysis of the law and identify steps to go forward.”
Some specific issues the steering committee is charged with reviewing as soon as possible are the ability to access federal funds to maximize affordable coverage options and plan for the creation of the State Health Exchange.
While Maine has enacted many of the provisions that are part of the Federal reform, some will need to be adjusted to reflect the new Federal law.
• Maine has insurance regulations and transparency much like that envisioned in the national law.
• MaineCare has already expanded coverage to most low-income people to 133 percent of poverty.
• Maine also has in place the Dirigo Health Agency that conducts many of the activities envisioned as an exchange, such as contracting with insurance companies, negotiating rates, determining eligibility and administering subsidies.
• Maine has restructured and consolidated its public health services to create a public health infrastructure that can implement the prevention and public health goals of national reform.
The membership composition, specific duties and other aspects of the steering committee are set in the Executive Order signed by the Governor on Thursday, April 22. The text of the Executive Order follows.
12 FY 10/11
April 22, 2010
AN ORDER IMPLEMENTING NATIONAL HEALTH REFORM IN MAINE
WHEREAS, President Barack Obama signed the historic Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010 and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 on March 30, 2010; and
WHEREAS, under National Health Reform up to 37,000 Maine small businesses will qualify for tax credits to help make coverage more affordable, provide affordable coverage options for 125,000 Mainers who are uninsured and 40,000 Mainers who purchase health insurance through the individual market; and
WHEREAS, states have an important role to implement many components of National Health Reform, including certain immediate reforms; and
WHEREAS, Maine is uniquely situated to implement National Health Reform due to its history of insurance reform and Dirigo Health Reform efforts in Maine including expanding access to health insurance, improving quality of care, strengthening public health, and reducing cost growth; and
WHEREAS, a coordinated response by the executive branch is important to ensure timely and successful implementation of National Health Reform across all departments and agencies; and
WHEREAS, the Governor’s Office of Health Policy and Finance (GOHPF) was established in January, 2003 by Executive Order 06 FY 02/03 to serve as a focal point on health policy and assure coherent, collaborative cross agency state health policy, maximize Medicaid and other federal programs, and chair the Cabinet Council on Health representing all agencies in state government with health-related responsibilities to assure coordinated policy;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, John E. Baldacci, Governor of the State of Maine, do hereby establish the Health Reform Implementation Steering Committee and direct the following:
To assure ongoing coordination, the GOHPF shall lead the executive branch working with the Health Reform Implementation Steering Committee to implement National Health Reform.
The Health Reform Implementation Steering Committee shall be comprised of the following permanent members. The Director of the Governor’s Office of Health Policy and Finance shall serve as Chair of the Steering Committee.
• Director, Governor’s Office of Health Policy & Finance
• Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services
• Commissioner of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation
• Superintendent of Insurance
• Executive Director of the Dirigo Health Agency
Other members of the administration may be invited to serve on an as-needed basis with respect to specific issues affecting their scope of responsibility. The Steering Committee shall work with the GOHPF health policy committee of key state agencies to support its mission, and draw membership from any other agency or department of state government as needed.
The Governor’s Office of Health Policy and Finance, with the Steering Committee, shall work collaboratively with tribal, local and federal governments. The GOHPF will serve as the state liaison with the federal government for health reform implementation.
The Governor’s Office of Health Policy and Finance, with the Health Reform Implementation Steering Committee, shall:
• Advise the Governor and provide coordination and leadership for implementation of federal health reform across all departments and agencies of the executive branch;
• Assure on-going information sharing and coordination of efforts with the Legislative Joint Select Committee on Health Care Reform Opportunities and Implementation;
• Assure broad stakeholder engagement by consulting the Advisory Council on Health Systems Development to ensure open dialogue and to further the success of health reform implementation; and
• Ensure the State Health Plan is consistent with on-going implementation efforts, which must include a chapter outlining issues and options for National Health Reform implementation.
The Governor’s Office of Health Policy and Finance, with the Health Reform Implementation Steering Committee, shall immediately:
• Conduct an in-depth analysis of the new federal legislation;
• Identify the steps necessary to produce an implementation plan;
• Develop a plan to pursue funds pursuant to the national temporary high risk pool to maximize affordable coverage options for Maine citizens;
• Plan for the creation of the State Health Exchange; and
• Plan for the implementation of all other components of National Health Reform, including specific action steps, timelines, and assignment of lead responsibility.
The Advisory Council on Health Systems Development will serve as the advisory stakeholder group to the Steering Committee and shall assist in developing the analysis and implementation process required by this Executive Order.
The GOHPF may seek external funding and the aid of advisory panels as appropriate.
The Governor’s Office of Health Policy and Finance shall report monthly to the Governor on the Steering Committee’s implementation efforts beginning May, 2010.
The effective date of this Executive Order is April 22, 2010.
John E. Baldacci, Governor