Maine legislators have returned to Augusta and recently announced plans to try to improve on the private health insurance marketplace.
A news release from the office of Gov. Janet Mills states that the Made for Maine Health Coverage Act would lower the cost of medical visits, simplify shopping for a health coverage plan, and apply federal funding opportunities to help lower the cost of premiums.
"Our health insurance system is still confusing, and difficult to use, and too expensive," Mills said in a story posted on the WGME website.
Under the bill, known as LD 2007, starting this fall, Maine would run its own state-based health insurance marketplace using the federal website HealthCare.gov and related services. Funding would be provided by placing user fees on insurance companies in the marketplace.
"It lays the groundwork for Maine to run our healthcare package and exchange, instead of D.C. bureaucrats calling the shots," said Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Aroostook.
However, it would be contingent on what’s known as a state innovation waiver from the federal government.
Mills has indicated there is bipartisan support for the measure.
"Several people have had discussions with members of the committee and with Republicans, yes," Mills said.
Senate Republican leaders had a different take.
"I haven't had any communication on what this is, or what the plan is, or how much it's going to cost, or any of those things," said Sen. Jeffrey Timberlake, R-Androscoggin.
“We are generally skeptical of any plan that seeks to grow the size and scope of government so substantially, particularly in the health care sector,” Jacob Posik, Director of Communications for the Maine Heritage Policy Center, said in an email response to the Center Square. “But our team is still unpacking this complex bill and analyzing the full impact it would have on Maine consumers.”