Maine Politics

From the Piscataqua to the St. John

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Health Care

The BDN today has a great editorial discussing Maine's health care environment. It speaks directly to the claims made by some legislators that fewer regulations would improve the availability of care.
If mandates restrict coverage, the numbers don't show it. According to U.S. Census data, Maine ranks 16th best for the percentage of people covered by health insurance. That's nothing to cheer about, but it is worth noting, along with the fact the other states with broad mandates - including New York, Vermont, Massachusetts - also rank in the top half for coverage. Maine's insurance rates are about average when making an even comparison of what is offered to consumers.

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Maine ranks so high in coverage because 20% of our population is covered by Medicaid. 

Posted by George

4/16/2005 02:24:00 PM


And another 25% qualify for medicare.

What you need to research is % covered by private insurance by state. Think you will find maine is at the bottom of the list. 

Posted by S. Roberts

4/16/2005 06:25:00 PM


I've heard a figure more around 17% for medicare. But your point stands, Maine does have a robust government health program.

I've always looked at health insurance regulations from a different angle, based on the kind of treatment that would be denied people without them. With insurance premiums rising at five times the rate of wages across the board, (and executive salaries rising at a comparable pace) it's difficult to tell exactly what effect if any mandates have on the cost of insurance. It's also difficult to tell how many more Mainers would be on medicaid without mandated insured services such as mental health.

I strongly believe that universal health care is not only necessary, but inevitable, and I'll be talking a lot more about that on this site in the coming months. 

Posted by Mike

4/16/2005 07:23:00 PM


One thing that can't be denied is that health insurance is much more expensive in Maine than it is in other states. There are many reasons for that, some of the reasons are government policy and some of the reasons are demographics and personal choices. I think guarranteed issue and community rating for premiums has much more to do with high rates than mandates. The low rate of reimbursement by Medicare and Medicaid and the resulting cost shifting is also a major factor. That has a bigger impact here than in other states because a greater percentage of our population is in both programs than in most other states. 

Posted by George

4/16/2005 07:45:00 PM


"Universal health care" would be a disaster in Maine. It would be wonderful for the state employees union but it would tear apart the health care system.

A better approach would be to introduce a high risk pool which would have the almost immediate impact of reducing our premiums significantly. 

Posted by Bob

4/17/2005 09:00:00 AM


Hey Bob, as long as you're bringing back stuff from the '80s, would you mind grabbing me a rubik's cube? 

Posted by Al

4/17/2005 02:10:00 PM


Al: Maybe Al should reset all our health insurance laws back to the 80's. At that time, our insurance rates were not as out of line with the rest of the country as they are today. The fact is the the "reforms" of the 90's have failed. 

Posted by George

4/17/2005 03:15:00 PM


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10/06/2005 08:01:00 PM



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