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In order to grow Maine’s economy we must give Mainers the tools to create jobs.

Good Morning. This is Governor Paul LePage.

Maine Businesses, big and small, are struggling with the high costs of health insurance for employees. It’s a burden that is getting in the way of creating jobs.

Maine has some of the highest health insurance premiums in the country. Our neighbors in New Hampshire pay less, and have many more options when it comes to providing insurance for themselves, their families and their employees.

Well-intentioned regulations have raised premiums and lowered choices for Maine health insurance.

This week Republicans endorsed a plan, LD 1333, that will increase competition in Maine’s health insurance market allowing individuals and businesses to buy insurance from other New England states.

LD 1333 also helps small businesses by allowing job creators with fewer than 50 employees to band together to purchase insurance. By widening the insurance pool and reducing risk, the companies that power Maine's economy can drive down their health insurance costs and make room to expand and hire more Maine people.

We must give our job creators the tools to grow without stifling them with outrageous health insurance costs. LD 1333 is health care reform that works and will give more Mainers job opportunities.

Unfortunately, there are some who think creating more choice and job opportunities for Mainers is the wrong kind of reform. Recently, scare tactics have been used by opponents of LD 1333. They say the bill would be devastating to cancer patients and it would deny coverage for cancer survivors due to “pre-existing conditions.”

The fact is LD 1333 explicitly forbids insurance carriers from denying coverage.

Another claim is that the bill will force the sick and elderly to pay higher rates. Again, not true. This legislation is based on the Idaho health insurance model, which guarantees access to all individuals, and cannot charge different premiums based on health, just like current Maine law.

Still, some say we should do nothing and Maine’s insurance markets are fine the way they are.

As Governor, I cannot sit on the sideline and say we cannot do better. Because the truth is, we can do much better and must do much better.

I encourage you to take the time to learn about this important piece of legislation that will bring down the price of health care insurance premiums and provide more jobs to Mainers.

Call your Representatives and Senators to tell them you support LD 1333.

Thank you for listening. I hope you enjoy the weekend. And to all the mothers tuning in, Ann and I wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day.

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