On July 3, the newspaper ran an article, “GOP majority leaves its mark on session,” highlighting several legislative achievements.

On the subject of health care, the reporter missed the mark in the description of L.D. 1333.

The article states that insurance companies can charge higher rates to people based on age and illness.

L.D. 1333 specifically prohibits basing insurance premiums on a person’s health status, consistent with current Maine law and the federal Affordable Care Act.

The law does allow a greater degree of variance between different age applicants, however, to characterize that to mean higher rates is misleading. States with similar regulations boast lower rates for old and young alike.

The article goes on to say that everyone in the state with private coverage will be required to pay a $4 monthly assessment. The reality is that the $4 is a maximum assessment for the reinsurance pool designed to cover claims for Maine’s sickest individual policyholders.

Other states’ experiences have shown to need much less.

The reporter also fails to give context to this statement by sharing that the Dirigo assessment currently paid by those same people with private coverage today is far greater than $4 and is phasing out as the new assessment is applied, representing a net savings to all.

Finally, the reporter quotes Rep. Emily Cain, D-Orono, who said the Republicans bypassed the normal legislative process with L.D. 1333. This is not accurate and would likely have been pointed out had the reporter also interviewed a Republican legislator on the issue.

Insurance regulations are complex, and I can appreciate different views on how best to approach them, but readers deserve an accurate portrayal of this new law so they can come to their own conclusions regarding its value for Maine’s families and businesses.

Joel Allumbaugh, director

Center for Health Reform Initiatives

The Maine Heritage Policy Center

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