Maine’s largest physicians’ membership organization hopes to see state health care reforms in the upcoming legislative session.
Currently, the state uses HealthCare.gov, part of the Affordable Care Act, but concerns have been raised about that platform, Andrew MacLean, CEO of the Maine Medical Association, told The Center Square.
“We have been anticipating a fairly pent-up demand for movement in health care,” MacLean said.
In the next few months, the state’s Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services will hold four separate meetings to discuss carryover bills, two of which propose single-payer health care.
“As we know, there are a number of Democratic presidential candidates who are outright supporters of that,” MacLean said, “But I don’t think the Maine Legislature is going to proceed with a state-based single-payer plan.”
Critics say a single-payer plan – essentially, government-run health care – will lead to skyrocketing costs and huge tax increases.
Two other bills before the committee present some aspect of a public option.
“I think there’s going to be great interest in trying to come up with something in that regard, whether it’s a Medicaid buy-in plan, or another buy-in to one of these other large pools, the state employees’ program is usually the most obvious,” MacLean said.
Late last month, Gov. Janet Mills held a health care forum that MacLean attended, where she announced the possibility of creating a state-based exchange.
“It would be creating a wholly separate state-based platform for purchasing health insurance coverage through the marketplace,” MacLean said, adding that one of the speakers was Mila Kofman, a former Maine superintendent of insurance who now runs the District of Columbia exchange.
“I think it’s quite likely that whatever Gov. Mills proposes is going to look a lot like the D.C. exchange. That will be another important part of the health care reform discussion in the second session of this Legislature,” MacLean said.
“It would essentially be a web-based vehicle for purchasing health insurance coverage that is different from HealthCare.gov, which has various issues,” MacLean said. “What we heard at this forum is that this web-based marketplace in D.C. works very well. There are plenty of insurers who are willing to participate and have their products available for consideration by consumers on the site, and people find it quite useful for purchasing their health insurance.