December 17, 2017
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Comments for: New health care law has devastating consequences for rural Mainers

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  • Anonymous

    GOOD Mr. Goode.  Spot on.  LeBUFFOON and his TeaPublicans in the legislature had one goal with this:  Help their insurance company CEO corporate masters buy more mansions, and to heck with the people of Maine.  Well, come November the TeaPubs are FINISHED.  And this is just one more reason why.

    • Anonymous

      There is no replying to people who create silly nicknames for the elected.  Is this the Liberal way of conversation?

  • How is that $337.00 Tax reduction gonna help ya now ?

    Maby you can use it for a down payment for a loan to pay the Health Insurance Company bill!

    Devastating , Disasterous,Diabolical Tea Party!!!!

    • Anonymous

      $337.00 might buy you a weeks coverage.

      Can we call this LePage care?

      • Anonymous

        That is the liberal reply typically,  blame it on the elected that you appear to dislike. 

        • Anonymous

          Governor LePage and his party passed this legislation. Should I blame this on Governor Brennan, Baldaci, King, Mackernen?

          • Anonymous

            Instead of placing blame, how about working to right the situation.  If more of us, could put aside our attitudes about the parties, then perhaps more good would get accomplished. Too much division and too many nasty remarks from all of us here and it is time to try to find common ground.

          • Anonymous

            I agree. That is the main reason that Congress has the worst favorablility rating in my memory. We have to throw out all the ideologues who are frozen in one position.

        • Anonymous

          I don’t appear to dislike La Plague and his gang of corporate lackeys, I actually do dislike them, elected by their 38% or not. Very much dislike them.

  • Anonymous

    What I found interesting was only one insurance company was identified in this commentary and that was Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield (Econo Electric in Skowhegan experienced sticker shock when it was quoted a 42-percent increase by its Anthem broker).

    One of the problems as I see it is there is zero competition in Maine when it comes to looking for insurance company for individuals or companies. Your choices for a Maine based company are Anthem and…..Anthem. It has been that way for years. A relative of mine moved to Maine several years ago and when she went insurance shoppring for healthcare coverage she found that she had one choice….Anthem.

    The second problem as I see it is Anthem BC/BS is a for profit company. That was not always the case in Maine. Years ago Anthem was a not for profit called BC/BS of Maine (or some such name).

    How did we get to the point of limited competition and a for profit insurance company? Well insurance regulations are written by the legislature as Representative Goode points out in his last paragraph. Now, which party was in control of the state legislature when BC/BS of Maine became Anthem BC/BS? Which party has written the majority of the insurance regulations that have limited competition for the past several decades?

    • Anonymous

      Governor LePage and the rest of the Republicans promised to bring full choice when they were pushing this bill through. Of course their vision only extended to a choice of a few states away. Not nationally.

      • Anonymous

        No argument patom1….but why did Governor LePage and the rest of the Republicans have to promise “to bring full choice” to Maine to begin with?

        • Anonymous

          In answer to your question, maybe that was to quell any objections while they did exactly what they had in mind.

          • Anonymous

            When BC/BS of Maine, a not for profit insurance carrier became Anth BC/BD which party controlled the Maine legislature?

            Prior to this change in insurance regulations, which party controlled the Maine legislature and how did those changes promote competition and lower costs to Maine consumers and businesses?

          • Anonymous

            And how did these latest changes benefit seniors and rural rate payers?

            If I’m not mistaken, the reason there were a limited number of Insurance providers was because they wanted to ease the cost of administration and billing for Doctors and hospitals. That apparently has gone out the window. 

            Democrats were in charge.

          • Anonymous

            I am not saying the recent changes have benefited anyone. What I am saying is Representatve Goode is only telling half the story.

            The insurance issues we have here in Maine has been ongoing for at least the last 10-15 years. It’s not a new problem and it’s not one parties problem or fault. It is BOTH parties fault.

            When only Anthem and companies such as MegaLife want to write individual policies something is very wrong with the system. Seven years ago when my relative moved to Maine the ONLY company she could obtain an individual policy from was Anthem and it was a catastrophic policy with a $10k deductible and a premium of $600.00 per month if memory serves me.

            The questions were should be asking are:

            Why are Maine’s insurance choices limited to one or two. Ompaniesinsurance offering high deductible catastrophic healthcare coverage with a premium that are unaffordable?

            Why are Maine’s insurances choices for employer group policies so limited and expensive for employers?

            What are other New England states doing that makes those states so different in both the number of companies doing business and the cost of premiums for individual and group policies?

            I am just sick and tired of one side blaming the other side for our current woes. There are two sides to every problem and in many cases of late both sides are equally to blame.

          • Odalisque

            There are not an awful lot of large health insurance companies that operate nationwide and some operate regionally – Anthem, Cigna, Humana, BC/BS, Wellpoint, Kaiser Permanent…. I gather that one of the main reasons is that insuring health is a costly business so you need to have enough money to cover the risks.

            Many states have laws that protect consumers and that require certain types of coverage to be offered if insurers want to operate in a state. I consider these good things. After all, when we purchase insurance, we want to know that reputable companies are providing the insurance we need, and we do want insurance that covers the health issues that are of most concern to us. Because health care costs are extraordinarily and unnecessarily high in
            this country and because Maine has the oldest population base in the country, insurers would need to be large enough to handle the risk which might limit those interested in operation in the state. And, since Maine does not have a large population with great wealth, perhaps it would also not be worth their time and effort.

            With the bill that passed, the state essentially ceded its oversight responsibilities to out-of-state companies and has allowed them to charge higher rates to those in rural areas; older people; and those with medical histories. A friend told me that the health insurance costs for her small business went up 50% as a result of this change in state law. Why? Because they operate in a small town in rural Maine and most of their employees are women over 40 with medical histories.

            Anyone who says that an older population is not part of the problem is, of course, being disingenuous. Also, Maine has a poor population, one reason that so many people are/were eligible for MaineCare.

            There has been a lot of hyping of catastrophic coverage so now companies seem to have decided that they can get away with just providing the minimum to people while they still make them pay too much for it, and get nothing much in return. The LePage administration is perfectly fine with that as long as they can make the claim that insurance costs have decreased. It doesn’t actually matter what you get for that decreased cost.

            I especially do not like that the legislature has essentially given over public policy decision-making, not just to the Maine Heritage Policy Center, but to corporations. They did it on this issue; they did it on education and the online education schools, women and their rights, deregulation, the environment. I can’t for the life of me see any educational necessity for students to have to take at least one online class from these online schools in order to graduate. Can you? Yet, that is what the online schools wrote into that education bill, as well as a lot of other little things that will cost us greatly so that they and their share holders can turn tidy profits at public expense.

            I returned to Maine a few years ago so I am not aware of the prior administration of the state, but one thing, I do know, is that in the state in which I lived, Maine was held up as an exemplar of a state that was doing the right things for actual people – not companies, not corporations. I think that Maine people should be embarrassed at the governance of the state now. Handed over lock, stock, and barrel to corporate interests without more than a whimper from most of the population.

            We need a health care system, not a health insurance system. Wellness should be the focus, and it should be a single-payer system like Medicare.

          • Anonymous

            That is an excellent comment. Thank you.

          • An outstanding arguement for the adoption and use of a Public Option Health Care system. Remove the profit motive and it all comes into focus.

          • Anonymous

             you ARE mistaken.  The laws formerly in place were to keep rates artificially low for those older Mainers whose cost of healthcare is statistically higher, and this resulted in artificially higher rates for the younger folks who don’t need many services.  This ratio of premium rates was set by the legislature at 1.5 to 1 (i.e., a 64 year olds rates would be no more than 1.5x the rate of a 20 year old).  This, along with the requirements that Maine be a Guaranteed Issue state, and couldn’t charge more or less due a persons health kept most companies out of the state.  The recent law PL90 from the Republicans loosened that ratio to 3 to 1 for this year, resulting in lower rates for young folks, and higher rates for the older ones, which more accurately reflects the relative cost of health care.  Part of the intent was to have more insurance companies come to Maine to do business.  I don’t see anyone knocking down the doors to do so.

          • Anonymous

            Thank you for your reply. Either way someone loses and the insurance industry wins. This is why I would much rather see a national health plan that takes care of all our citizens equally. I know the rich will still have their own private health system but at least everyone else would be on an even par.

    • Anonymous

       jd, a quick fact check at the state insurance website will find your claim to be grossly incorrect.  United Healthcare, Anthem, Aetna, and Harvard Pilgrim all provide group coverage in the state currently.  And there are three companies in the individual market.

      • Anonymous

        I work in healthcare and the single largest payer in the state of Maine after MediCare and MaineCare is Anthem BC/BS. Anthem is the single largest FOR PROFIT company out there

        Yes, Harvard, United, Aetna (now the state of Maine carrier I believe) all do business but are a very small percentage of the total market. Why?

        As for “individual” carriers Try to find one that isn’t a “catastrophic” provider. Anthem and the others provide high deductible, high premium policies.

        And which party was in control of the Maine legislature when the previous rules were written? Which party controlled the Maine legislature when BC/BS went from a not for profit to a for profit company called Anthem BC/BS?

        • Anonymous

           To my recollection Anthem purchased Maine BC/BS somewhere around 1995. Unfortunately I can’t find a link to substantiate the actual date.  Jock McKernan (R) was in power up to 1/5/95, then Angus King (I).  Being that this was a purchase by Anthem, I’m not sure that the Maine legislature would have even been involved in the process, much less approval.  I’m open to being proven wrong, if you can find facts that state otherwise.

          Part of the reason for Anthem being so large has been it’s state contract, which has included all state workers, and all teachers and staffs around the state.  Nice to see that they actually decided to bid it out.

          Harvard Pilgrim, a non-profit, has been largely absent the state for several years; re-appeared to do groups of over 50 until they were able to establish a decent baseline, and recently has been expanding into the under 50 employee group market.

          And United Healthcare just recently jumped back into the state (this past 12 months I believe).

          • Anonymous

            The point that I am trying to get across I’d both parties are responsible for where we find ourselves today. The Governor has very little to do with what companies come and go in any market place. But the legislature sets the rules or empowers a state agency to set the rules and regulations.

            As I recall there was a great deal said about a for profit company taking over a not for profit and what that would mean for those insured by Anthem. Well almost 20 years later we know and the politicians want to point fingers and blame everyone but themselves.

            The problem will be solved when the small businesses of Maine can afford to provide coverage to their employees at a reasonable. Oat with real coverage.

            By the way Harvard entered the market back in the late 1980s when they entered into a contract with BIW. They believed it would lead to more business but it didn’t and Harvard basicly left the market after that. They also went through a great deal of growing pains in Mass and almost went out of business.

            I wish Aetna the best of luck and hope that they are successful and don’t run up against the shoals like Harvard did.

  • Anonymous

    All the more reason to vote the Republican/Tea/MHPC/ALEC/Noquist Party out of office. It is ironic that the very people who overwhelmingly voted these people in are the ones being punished.

  • And again the arguement for Public Option is made. Maine keeps this going and Maine is gonna be the test State for Public Option. And even LePage can’t argue with this since it happened on his Watch. That’s what leadership is all about. It’s not ability, it’s about responsibility. And so far LePage is coming up $ 9 bucks short on a $ 10 dollar bill. November is going to be very messy. It’s also going to see a huge change in the State House. LePage had better decide, now, to work with the Dem’s since he’s gonna find a TP or Republican scare after this little mess is seen for what it is; namely his letting the insurance industry write legislation just like Cianbro did on the Highway Act. November 2016 is a lot closer that LePage and the GOP thinks ………………

  • Anonymous

    LePage is pro-business, as long as they are contributors to the MHPC and his tea party. Heath insurance companies must be big contributors.

  • Anonymous

    Health insurance is for sick people and hypochondriacs. The rest of us help to pay for it. I am fortunate to be reasonably healthy at the tender age of 52 and have been “self-insured” for about ten years now as I am self employed. Most health insurance these days is either out of reach financially or not worth the paper it is written on. I go for regular check ups, eat healthy, get plenty of exercise, and I am a firm believer in all things in moderation. I had a slight bout with skin cancer this spring and had to have two cancerous spots surgically removed and then apply this very expensive medication to my face for three weeks. I told the doctor that I would be paying cash. He gave me a sample tube of the medication and my total bill was just over $600. If I had been paying $500 a month for health insurance for the last ten years, I would have spent $60,000 to save $600. And with the miracle of deductibles, I still would have had to pay the $600! lol. Thereby giving the insurance company 100% of my hard earned $60,000 for absolutely nothing. Thanks, but no thanks. 

    • Anonymous

      “Health insurance is for sick people and hypochondriacs.”

      Says the freeloader who brags about how he managed to get his cancer treatment cost-shifted  to others.

      • Anonymous

        Says the person who can’t read. I said that I paid six hundred dollars. How is that cost shifting or free loading? The SAMPLES are given to everyone, insured or not.

        • Anonymous

          Interesting article that slants to the libs.  Rep. Goode does not live in rural Maine.  Paying cash for healthcare in rural areas has actually decreased for the fee When medical facilities are paid with cash it saves tons of paperwork or computer data input, and the expensive Cat scans etc are often decided to be unnecessary.  Colonoscopies and day surgeries are negotiated to a better cost when paying cash.  For the insured, those same procedures are automatically ordered as the ins. mostly will pay it all.  Placing blame on either party only discredits the messenger.  Health insurance is basically a legalized form of taking good money to pay for big equipment.   Kind of like a legalized mafia.

        • Anonymous

          I work in the health care field. The $600 you paid was the part that couldn’t be cost-shifted someplace else.

          • Anonymous

            It took him 15 minutes. How much cost do you suppose he had to shift? lol. That is $2400 an hour. That should cover his light bill and groceries.

        • Anonymous

          Samples are not always given to everyone.  There are some offices who give them to self pay, under insured first, to everyone else if there are still samples left.  Even then,  samples are not free- the price is shifted to insurance companies and everyone else when pharmaceutical company decides not to offer samples anymore, or for folks who need more than one course of treatment and have to get a prescription filled at the pharmacy. 

    • Anonymous

      Do you have auto, homeowners or renter’s insurance?  If so, how much have you paid over the years compared to your claims?  Either way, consider yourself lucky to have had such great health over the years and also consider yourself part of a very small minority.  Great example of a “one-percenter” using their personal experience as a barometer for everyone else.  Get some perspective, otherwise no here cares about your singular experiences.

      • Anonymous

        Well, this is the first time I have been accused of being a 1 percenter! lol. I’ll stand by my premise that health insurance is a fool’s bet, financially. Yes, I do have insurance on my truck. the minimum amount allowed by law, $254 a year for bare bones liability. I have been driving for 37 years without scratching a fender, so yes, I have been getting a royal screwing from the auto insurance people, thanks to mandatory car insurance required by law. Statistically, the odds of me needing catastrophic health care before I reach retirement age is low. Especially where I actively monitor my health habits. Unless they pass another big brother law forcing me to do business with the thieves in the insurance industry, I’ll keep my hard earned money, thanks. Call mine a singular experience, but it has paid off for me in spades. Go get yourself some more insurance, just in case you may or may not need it. It isn’t worth the paper it is written on and your deductible will be more than 90% of any procedures that you may need. They make sure of it. 

        • Anonymous

          Having read a lot of your other posts, thought you’d get a kick out of being called a “one-percenter.” Problem with too many healthy folks following your lead would be astronomical price increases for the rest of us.  Insurance companies rely on iprofits from covering the healthy to offset costs of insuring the frequently ill. 

          • Anonymous

            Very true. Insurance companies do rely on healthy people to offset the unhealthy people, and make their profit. I feel, however, that I already support people who can’t or won’t work with my taxes. I already support the needy by volunteering. I already “offset” the bad drivers by being accident free for 37 years. I already support people who can’t obey the law and have to be incarcerated. I already support do nothing politicians who send our jobs and our money to a COMMUNIST nation. Do you think it would be alright if I said that I can not carry anymore and opted out of the health insurance scheme? 

          • Anonymous

            Thought you already were out of the health insurance market?  Decisions like the one you made are all about taking risks.  Great when it works out (yourself) and terrible when it doesnt.  I cant complain either way as my medical expenses have been paid for by taxpayers for over 20 years (TRICARE).

          • Anonymous

            Don’t forget that you pay for almost everyone else’s health insurance, including politicians. The poor, the elderly, government workers, the cost of everything jacked up because of employers who pay for employee health insurance, and the cost of health care because insurers only pay 65 cents on the dollar if they pay at all, the cost of having to have staff for every provider to track down the insurers so they can actually get paid once in a blue moon. Doctors love patients who pay cash.

    • Anonymous

      I had this thing on my ear so I cut it off with a utility knife and put the neosporen to it. About 5 bucks.

      • Anonymous

        Granny Moses of Beverly Hill Billies fame would be proud of you! lol. Did you use some of Granny’s corn squeezins’ for pain killer? lol. My dermatologist took the top of my ear off and a chunk off of my forehead. I thought the needle in the forehead hurt, until he gave me the one in the top of the ear! lol.   

  • Odalisque

    When the legislation was in the works, I went online and read the bill. I contacted Mike Thibodeau and Ryan Harmon my state representation about my concerns with 1) allowing outside corporations to operate in the state without state oversight, 2) the language in the bill that allows insurers to increase rates on those who are 1) older, 2) live in rural areas, and 3) have a medical history on which their rates would also be based. Thibodeau did not, of course, respond, since that is how he operates. Harmon informed me that it was just Maine People’s Alliance (MPA) bs and proceeded to give me Maine Heritage Policy Center talking points in front of which he insert the word FACT. I responded to him that the least he could do was give me his honest assessment of the bill based on his own reading, not talking points. As it turns out, I was correct and Mr. Harmon, stupid man that he is, was not.

    Rather than blaming the state legislature and its new law for their insurance increases and the crappy products out there, people will blame Obamacare even though it is not yet implemented in the state.

    • Anonymous

      How does a person not blame Obama Care for anything after hearing Nancy Pelosi’s statement of not know what was in the policy but after voting for it and then reading it, we could all understand it.  I thought the way of the world is that you read the policy first Before voting on it.
      Double standards at the height.

  • 11 / 6 / 2012 … Show up and vote these Jokers out.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t believe a word or number of this article.   A most recent article actually stated that under Obama(non)Care the college students’ rates would be increased by a significant amount, along with Medicare costs actually going up because of reduced care availability.  Who will be crying then?  The Republicans in ME were trying to  “fix” the terrible system of Dirigo that was the previous administration’s failure.
    Without true competitive rates available,  those individual insureds have had rate increases for a very long time.

    • Anonymous

       ‘A most recent article’… thanks for the source, I’ll go look this up.  (sarcasm).

      As for college student’s rates, there is a good reason for the increases.  Most college plans stop their coverage at $100,000.  That’s it.  If something truly catastrophic happened, they’d be screwed.  The Health Care Reform laws dictated that the colleges had 3 years to bring their plans into compliance with the federal laws which dictate that there not be a cap on coverage.

  • Anonymous

    This is why we need universal health care for all. It exists in other countries, and not just Communist countries but democracies as well. The profit motive is what drives health care in this country and it will literally kill us.

    • Anonymous

      My colleagues in Germany and Denmark pay for private insurance through the company we work for because they receive much better service when they go to the doctor and use the insurance they pay for rather than use the social system.  It seems its true that this is just the biggest welfare program in the history of the world.

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