Lawmakers brokering compromise on controversial health insurance overhaul plan

Posted May 11, 2011, at 2:16 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Senate voted to table insurance reform Wednesday morning as Republicans and Democrats continued to negotiate changes to legislation that could impact the way some 40,000 Mainers get health insurance.

The Senate was in recess, but was expected to reconvene later Wednesday afternoon to take up the bill, LD 1333.

Key to the deal was concern among rural Republicans over a change that could push patients to hospitals miles from where they live.

While senators from both the Democratic and Republican parties noted a deal seemed imminent, details remained vague.

“There are a number of amendments coming and we are not announcing anything until we see them,” Sen. Justin Alfond, a Portland Democrat, said during a very short break from a caucus meeting.

Other lawmakers including Sen. Lois Snowe-Mello, R-Auburn, and Rep. Mike Carey, D-Lewiston, confirmed negotiations between leaders in the respective parties were ongoing. Carey said it was to the point of “horse-trading.”

Snowe-Mello said she would prefer to talk about the measure after it was voted on, but she was hopeful the insurance reform would be voted out of the Senate Wednesday.

To read more of the Sun Journal, visit sunjournal.com.

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