WATERVILLE — Mayor Karen Heck on Wednesday spoke out against a bill passed last year that deregulated health insurance costs and caused health care premiums for small businesses and others to spike.
“Over the past year, 93 percent of small business owners in central Maine have seen their health care premiums go up,” Heck said at 11 a.m. outside City Hall. “Some in the Waterville area have seen their rates hiked by more than 80 percent.”
Wednesday’s event was hosted by the Maine Small Business Coalition.
Heck joined several other people, including representatives from the Maine People’s Alliance, in urging voters to support candidates who oppose the rate hikes and would work to repeal the law if they are elected.
Deborah Klane of Fairfield, a member of the Maine Small Business Coalition, said she co-owned a small health and safety consulting and training company with her husband, Jonathan, for 14 years, but in April, the business succumbed to the poor economy and her husband had to take a permanent job in Arizona.
During the Klanes’ nine years in business, they saw a steady hike in their monthly insurance premium, capping out last year at $14,191 per year for them and their two children, Ian and Evan, and Evan has profound special needs, she said.
“And now?” Klane said. “Our health insurance, fortunately, is covered by my husband’s employer, but he’s in Arizona, my younger son is off to college in Pennsylvania and Evan and I are here alone in Maine. This is what lack of affordable, necessary health care insurance in Maine has done to this family.”
Mike Tipping of the Maine People’s Alliance said his organization works closely with the Maine Small Business Coalition on health care matters.
He said insurance companies are spending tens of thousands of dollars promoting candidates who support the deregulation.

Amy Calder — 861-9247
[email protected]