Legislators Sustain Governor’s Veto

June 2, 2011

Governor LePage introduces New Bill

For Immediate Release: Thursday, June 02, 2011

Contact: Adrienne Bennett (207) 287-2531

Augusta, Maine – Legislators agreed with Governor Paul LePage today as they sustained the Governor’s first veto measure. Last week, Governor LePage vetoed LD 1222, “An Act To Promote Fairness in Negotiations between Health Insurance Carriers and Health Care Service Providers” citing the bill as a “one-size-fits-all” law which would prevent businesses from pursuing novel and creative approaches to achieve competitive advantages. He went on to note that Maine’s antitrust laws are strong and the he has no doubts that the Attorney General will enforce those laws to the utmost of his ability.

The original bill prohibited the use of the “most favored nation” clause, which is a participation agreement between a carrier and a health care service provider that bans, or grants the carrier an option to prohibit, the provider from entering into a participation agreement with another carrier to provide services at a lower price. Because the original bill received broad support, the Governor has put forth a similar proposal.

“I appreciate the opportunity to work with President Kevin Raye, Speaker Bob Nutting and our legislators to work toward a compromise and I believe we have a solution that will improve the law and protect businesses,” Governor LePage said. “Fair play in the insurance marketplace is vital for many small practices and this measure will safeguard them. At the same time it provides a relief valve to give businesses flexibility, rejecting a ‘one size fits all’ approach. It is a win-win.”

The Governor’s bill includes the “most favored nation” clause ban, however, it also allows for a waiver process. The process would enable either a carrier or a provider to request a waiver from the Maine Superintendent of Insurance. The superintendent would have to make findings that the law was fair and not anti-competitive.

"I appreciate everyone's efforts to work together and arrive at this solution," said Maine Speaker of the House Robert Nutting. "I'm pleased that we could address the Governor's concern about the one-size-fits-all aspect of the original bill, while at the same time addressing the anti-competitive contract provisions that the bill sought to protect against."

Senate President Kevin Raye offered, “The Legislature will have an opportunity to revisit in the next session, the issues addressed in this bill, by virtue of the Governor’s alternative proposal.”