The Senate voted 22-13 on Friday, falling two votes short of the two-thirds support needed to override the Republican governor's veto.
In his veto message, Gov. Paul LePage says Maine can't afford to expand the program, and can't trust federal promises of funds to cover the costs.
Supporters of universal health care are applauding an initial vote in the Maine House today that would authorize a study of implementing such a system in Maine. It's not the first time the issue has been studied in the state. But as Patty Wight reports, it's the first time supporters say the idea has gotten traction.
Today is the last day to sign up for insurance on the Affordable Care Act's online marketplace. Though it will take time for the full implications of the law to become clear, Maine Sen. Angus King says some changes are already in order. The independent congressman is co-sponsoring three bills to improve the federal health law for businesses and employees. As Patty Wight reports, reactions are mixed as to whether these are the right changes at the right time.
The Obama administration now says anyone who begins the process of signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act by Monday will be given up to two weeks to complete the process. The days leading up to Monday's deadline has the administration mounting a major publicity effort that brought regional Health and Human Services Director Christie Hager, and regional Small Business Administration head Seth Goodall to MPBN's studios this week. Hager points out that Maine, unlike other states, has seen sign-ups run ahead of projections.
A new survey indicates that before the rollout of Obamacare health plans, Mainers - with and without insurance -struggled to pay health care costs.
Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor is facing a $7 million deficit, due in large part to lower reimbursement rates from the government and a larger-than-expected surge in charity care. It's a similar story at medical centers across the state. Hospitals knew that certain Medicare cuts were coming under the Affordable Care Act. But enrollment in the new health insurance exchanges - at least so far - hasn't led to the reduction in charity care that was expected.
A bipartisan plan to expand Medicaid coverage to thousands of Maine residents won strong support in an initial vote today in the Maine Senate, but fell two votes short of the majority needed to override a promised veto from the governor. As amended, the bill would allow Maine to take advantage of health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act. But it also contains an opt-out provision if the federal government fails to deliver promised reimbursements. Republicans oppose the plan on the basis of principle and costs. A.J. Higgins has more.
Of the thousands of pages that make up the Affordable Care Act, alternative medicine providers are paying a lot of attention to one paragraph in particular: Section 2706 says that insurance companies can't discriminate against any health provider with a state-recognized license. It's supposed to open insurance companies' doors to include alternative medicine in network plans. But as Patty Wight reports, the reality isn't proving to be as inclusive as some had hoped.
When David and Robin Millward moved to Ogunquit, Maine, in November from London, England, they knew that getting health insurance coverage was a priority - perhaps even more of a priority for them because David has an hereditary heart condition. And so, like thousands of others residents of the Pine Tree State, they enrolled with Maine Community Health Options - one of the two health insurance companies available under the state's online marketplace. (The other one is Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.) But the Millwards say their experience so far leaves a lot to be desired - and the company acknowledges that an unexpectedly high number of enrollees caught them off guard. Tom Porter has more.
The day after a proposed compromise to Medicaid expansion was unveiled by two Maine Senate Republicans, the LePage administration has launched a counter-offensive. The administration said today that "Medicaid expansion is bad for the environment." Commissioners from state natural resource agencies gathered with Department of Health and Human Services officials to make their case, as lawmakers were preparing to take up the Medicaid expansion bill this afternoon. Patty Wight reports.
A compromise plan to expand Medicaid in Maine is on the table. Two Republican lawmakers drafted the proposal that would move the state's Medicaid program to a managed care model, in a bid to contain costs and appease Republicans opposed to expanding the program. But as Patty Wight reports, the plan doesn't seem to be convincing key GOP lawmakers to embrace expansion.
On Friday, the Obama administration announced that it plans to cut funding to the Medicare Advantage program in 2015. The cuts are part of the Affordable Care Act. And while some say the move will take money away from some effective health programs, others say it's needed to bring overall health care costs down. Patty Wight reports.
At an Augusta press conference this morning, Americans for Prosperity Maine Director Carol Weston, a former Republican state senator from Montville, said expanding Medicaid would force the state to cut elsewhere.
The coalition, made up of groups including the ACLU of Maine and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, laid out its legislative priorities on Tuesday at the State House.
Passionate pleas were made today at the State House on both sides of the debate over wehther Maine should expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a similar proposal last year, but there are some new elements added to this year's bill. Patty Wight reports.
One of the most polarizing issues before the legislature this session is Medicaid expansion. Should Maine enroll an additional 70-thousand people in Medicaid? A controversial new report from the Alexander group argues against it. But many health care advocates take issue with its rationale.
Small businesses - that is, those with fewer than 50 full-time employees, don't have to provide health insurance to employees under the Affordable Care Act. Some want to, but are finding that new options can be confusing. Patty Wight stopped by a forum this morning put on by the Maine Health Access Foundation to help small businesses forge ahead into this new territory.
While the federal goverment is continually trying to improve the new health insurance marketplace Web site, a group in Maine is also trying to ensure the marketplace works well. Today the Health Exchange Advisory Committee approved its final recommendations for the state. As Patty Wight reports, the consensus is to ensure that as many Mainers as possible have health insurance, but not necessarily through an expansion of Medicaid.
Those looking for health insurance via the ACA need to sign up soon in order to be covered in the new year. Our experts are here to help navigate listeners through the process - including using the much maligned healthcare.gov
The Maine Bureau of Insurance will hold a public informational session on the Affordable Care Act in the Lecture Hall at the Bangor Public Library on Tuesday.
Maine's Bureau of Insurance said today that Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield will be allowed to renew such health plans for another year.
The Web site where people can sign up for new insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act has been plagued with glitches since it first opened in October. But the Obama administration says it's getting better. Patty Wight set out to visit an insurance marketplace "navigator" to see if the Web site has, indeed, improved, and what people think of their new insurance options.
Maine's Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday it had signed a nearly $1 million contract with the Alexander Group.
The announcement comes a day after President Barack Obama's administration urged Republican Gov. Paul LePage to expand the program to cover about 70,000 more Mainers.
Founded by the University of Maine System and Colby, Bates and Bowdoin Colleges.