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Soon Mainers will have a choice about health care insurance. More choice in the market will drive down consumer costs and it will make health care coverage more affordable to thousands of Mainers.

Good Morning, This is Governor Paul LePage.

The recently signed health care insurance bill also known as LD 1333 is a plan that is based on proven systems. More than 30 states have similar laws including New Hampshire and Idaho.

Critics are attempting to discredit this bill that will soon become law, but they fail to realize is that this is a healthy dose of what consumers have been asking for – affordable health insurance.

High premiums are placing job-killing demands on all Maine people.

By lowering the cost of healthcare, employers are able to spend more money creating jobs while providing their employees with reasonably priced health insurance.

LD 1333 guarantees that it is illegal for insurance carriers to deny coverage to anyone.

LD 1333 prohibits insurance companies from charging more to individuals based on health conditions, and it will not increase premiums on older people. This law allows insurance carriers to offer less expensive products to our younger people.

It also ends the monopoly in Maine of a few insurance companies by allowing competition in the market. Mainer’s will be allowed to buy insurance across state lines.

LD 1333 will not increase premiums on people living in rural Maine, and force people to travel outside their local area to receive care. This law now gives everyone the same options enjoyed by the state employee insurance plan.

Dirigo has a $40 million a year assessment, which is being eliminated through the budget process. The $4 dollar per month assessment on this plan is a modest recapture of that and in turn will help cover the claims of individuals with high medical costs. We anticipate the $4 dollar assessment will be lowered during the next year or so as well.

Mainers pay more for health insurance than equivalent individuals in New Hampshire – a lot more. For example, a 20 year old in Maine pays more than $350 dollars per month for an Anthem single plan. In New Hampshire that same 20 year old pays $136 dollars. A 50 year old Mainer pays about $475 dollars compared to a $340 dollar premium in New Hampshire.

The difference couldn’t be clearer. If we choose to stay on the same path health insurance in Maine would continue to be expensive for individuals and businesses that are struggling with these costs. We can no longer afford to force Mainers onto Medicaid.

Supporters made the right choice. A choice that will give our State the economic growth we need and provide affordable health insurance for everyone.

I appreciate you taking the time to listen. Thank you and enjoy the weekend.

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