Augusta, MAINE - At a public hearing on Tuesday, a representative of Governor Mills, President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash and Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, testified in support of LD 1, “An Act to Protect Health Care Coverage for Maine Families.” The bill, sponsored by President Jackson and Speaker Gideon, would require insurance companies to include basic patient protections in health care plans offered in Maine.
“If recent weeks have taught us anything, it is that we cannot put the fate of critical health care protections for tens of thousands of Mainers in the hands of someone else,” said Governor Mills. “Maine can do more to strengthen its laws protecting critical coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and other essential health benefits like mental health, maternity and newborn care. That’s why this administration is moving immediately, in concert with the Legislature, to help protect Mainers with pre-existing conditions, regardless of what happens at the federal level.”
“At the end of the day, quality, affordable health care coverage is about the freedom of Mainers to go about their lives without worrying what will happen if they get sick or injured. With the instability in Washington and around the country about the fate of the Affordable Care Act, I want Mainers, especially those with preexisting conditions, to rest assured that we will protect their right to quality care,” said President Jackson. “We still have a long way to go to make prescription drugs more affordable, close the distance between health care professionals and patients and close gaps in coverage. However, I am hopeful this bill will give Mainers peace of mind as we work to achieve these goals.
“Our ultimate shared goal is affordable and accessible healthcare for every Maine family. From the closings of many of our rural hospitals to the outrageous cost of prescription drugs to a crippling opioid epidemic, our problems are real,” said Speaker Sara Gideon. “At the national level, constant changes to the Affordable Care Act continue to be proposed with various federal actions and ongoing lawsuits further complicating the state of healthcare for Americans. All of this creates great uncertainty for Mainers, threatening their confidence that healthcare access and coverage will be there when they need it. This legislation helps to provide one much needed piece of stability.”
In Maine, there are an estimated 230,000 non-elderly adults living with pre-existing conditions. In addition to ensuring no Mainer living with pre-existing conditions is denied health care coverage, the legislation also prohibits charging seniors substantially higher rates due to age; it bans lifetime and annual caps on coverage, it allows young adults up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ insurance, and it requires ten essential health benefits, such as ambulance services, prescription drugs and pediatric care. The bill also stipulates that available plans must be presented in an easy-to-read format.
Read the complete testimony offered by the Mills Administration, Senate President Jackson and Speaker Gideon.
LD 1 faces further action in the Legislature’s Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee, as well as votes in the Senate and House.