Governor LePage Signs Landmark Health Care Insurance Reform Bill

May 17, 2011

Governor LePage Takes Another Step Toward Creating Jobs in Maine Governor Stands by Republicans Signing Health Care Insurance Reform Bill to Lower Costs, Improve Choices and Aid Small Business

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 Contact: Adrienne Bennett (207) 287-2531

Augusta, Maine – Governor Paul LePage proudly signed today, LD 1333, "An Act To Modify Rating Practices for Individual and Small Group Health Plans and To Encourage Value-based Purchasing of Health Care Services," a Republican endorsed bill introduced by Representative Wesley Richardson. Legislators joined Governor LePage this afternoon during the bill signing that aims to make health insurance affordable to all Mainers.

“I am proud of everyone involved in making this piece of legislation a top priority. Republicans have clearly demonstrated that health care reform is important. More importantly, Republicans have shown that Mainers come first. More choice and competition will drive down the high costs of insurance premiums making coverage more affordable to everyone,” said Governor LePage.

“I’m also supportive of this measure because it will create jobs. Maine Businesses, big and small, are struggling with the high costs of health insurance for employees. It’s a burden that is getting in the way of creating jobs. When we lower costs to businesses they are able to hire more people.

This is a win-win today and I’m pleased to see Maine moving in the right direction.”

LD 1333 will increase competition in Maine’s health insurance market allowing individuals and businesses to buy insurance from other New England states. “We must give our job creators the tools to grow without stifling them with outrageous health insurance costs,” added Governor LePage. “LD 1333 is health care reform that works and will give more Mainers job opportunities.”

The measure also helps small businesses by allowing job creators with fewer than 50 employees to band together to purchase insurance. By widening the insurance pool and reducing risk, the companies that power Maine's economy can drive down their health insurance costs and make room to expand and hire more Maine people.

House Speaker Robert Nutting hailed final passage as a major achievement. “For years, Maine has suffered from a broken health insurance system,” he said. “Costs are so high that 130,000 people can’t afford to buy coverage. Employers and families with coverage are at the breaking point. Failure to act would have been irresponsible. This plan is based on proven systems in dozens of other states where rates are lower – sometimes dramatically lower. To get our economy growing again and create jobs, we need an insurance system that Mainers can afford.”