October 19: Paying for Health Care
What has become of the health care reform movement? The passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 was thought to be a watershed moment when our nation increased patient rights, reduced fraud and abuse and reduced disparities in health care access and costs. Early steps toward implementation, such as extended coverage to dependents, have been popular, but some of the building blocks of sustainability, particularly mandatory participation, are struggling in the courts and the ballot boxes.
In 2011 Governor LePage signed into law the Maine Health Care Reform Bill (Public Law 90 / LD1333) which seeks to promote competition, reduce health care costs and increase choices through deregulation, opening our insurance markets to interstate commerce. Critics raised concerns about poorly regulated products, and out of state insurers high grading younger, healthier workers and leaving instate programs with high cost, low income clients.
Meanwhile, the cost of health care insurance leapt more than 10% this year, even while our economy, wages and commodity prices have stagnated or declined. IN rural parts of Maine small businesses and self-employed workers are seeing insurance rate increases up to 90%. Where are we going and how will we pay the fare? We'll look at the motivation behind the Affordable Care Act and Public Law 90 and some of the likely consequences.
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