As premiums skyrocket and Maine faces the very real possibility of losing two of our three Obamacare insurers, there may be a bright spot. The “Maine Model” is becoming front and center in the national debate about health care and Obamacare.
Multiple national news reports came in today that ideas for fixing healthcare are coming from what we have done right here in Maine. In fact one Capitol Hill newspaper in Washington said one solution is “modeled after a program in Maine.”
The national WASHINGTON EXAMINER wrote this morning that potential health reform changes are “modeled after a successful program in the state of Maine that simultaneously reduced premiums and increased the number of insured.”
This story is years in the making, and it shows how Republican leadership and solutions in Maine could become the solution to our national Obamacare/health care crisis.
This follows on years of successful welfare reforms in Maine under Governor LePage. The Governor has been advocating for what has become knowns as the “Maine Model” in Washington including placing work requirements on welfare Medicaid for those able to work.
Senator Susan Collins helped start the discussion by offering ideas for the replacement of Obamacare with conservative U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana earlier this year.
If you have been following Maine politics for a while, you probably remember receiving numerous communications from me about Maine's health insurance reform, LD 1333 way back in 2011. Governor LePage and our Republican Legislative leaders at the time including Speaker Bob Nutting, Senate President Kevin Raye, Senator Rod Whittemore, Rep. Jon McKane, and many others, successfully pushed LD 1333 into law, with it becoming Public Law 90.
This new law unraveled the mess created by liberals and Governor Baldacci with Maine’s government-run healthcare experiment Dirigo which caused premium increases and the loss of healthcare insurance providers.
At that time Republicans passed these reforms here in Maine, liberals were attacking and predicting LD 1333 would usher in Armageddon…. But the liberals were proven wrong, insurance rates stabilized, and some even dropped.
Sadly, shortly after those reforms went into effect, Obamacare came crashing into Maine's market and destroyed our reforms. .
I don't have all the nitty-gritty details on each facet of the new healthcare proposals in DC at the moment, but I can tell you, there is a real possibility that the “Maine Model”, brought about by the leadership of Maine Republicans over the past decade, could become part of the actual solutions to repealing and replacing Obamacare.
As Our Congressman has been meeting at the White House to help the President and Vice President Pence work to repeal and replace Obamacare – pushing to ensure Maine’s population and taxpayers are supported – news reports indicate that Maine’s successes in the past could become a blueprint for the future
Multiple news outlets noted the Governor’s meetings in DC over the last several weeks as these disucssions moved forward. And, starting in 2015, in a letter to Congressional Leaders Congressman Poliquin outlined 14 principles for reform and promoted Maine’s successes with the reforms implemented with LD1333, reforms he supported while he was our State Treasurer.
Every one of you who supported the Maine reforms, and the elected officials who voted for them, deserve some credit as well.
At the same time that I know that the “Maine Model” is being studied as one solution to repealing and replacing the insurance components of Obamacare, I also know that the work of many Maine leaders, including Governor LePage, his advisers in his core office, DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew, our friends at the Foundation for Government Accountability, Maine People Before Politics, Maine Heritage Policy Center and countless other individuals and groups have created an opportunity for many of Maine's successful welfare reforms to also become part of the “Maine Model” for this effort as it potentially moves forward.
Not only could Maine lead the way in fixing America's health care, but we could also be the state that leads the way in the largest welfare reform effort our nation has ever seen.
And remember, this is largely because so many of you have worked so hard to support these elected officials, candidates and the Maine GOP reform agenda. For that and much more, thank you.
Below are some links and background to the policies and news stories mentioned above:
Congressman Poliquin's message to members of Congress, urging them to follow the “Maine Model” and why it works: https://poliquin.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/poliquin-writes-letter-chairmen
Congressman Poliquin op-ed in The Maine Wire on his principles of reform: http://www.themainewire.com/2016/03/14-solutions-broken-health-care-system/
Wall Street Journal article on PL 90 reforms: “Obamacare in Reverse” Maine deregulates the insurance market. Premiums fall: click here
LD 1333 Explained: click here
***Also, as I was finishing up this piece, I got an alert that Trish Riley, Governor Baldacci's architect of the failed Dirigo Health Program, which was the precursor to Obamacare, is now in national news opposing efforts to model replacement on Maine's success.
Funny how these things come back around – failed policy leads to failed policy, which ultimately is defended by the same partisan Democrat. And if the solution to the “Obamacare-Lite” Dirigo Health was PL 90, I guess it makes sense that the actual solution to Obamacare would be the Maine model.***