Health Care System and Health Security Board Releases Preliminary Report on Single-payor System
Last week, the Health Care System and Health Security Board released to the public and the Legislature its much anticipated Preliminary Report on the feasibility and cost of implementing a single-payer health care system in Maine. Such a system would be intended to provide universal health care coverage to every Maine resident through a standard benefit plan administered and paid for by a single payer, the State of Maine.
In its Executive Summary of the Report, the Board concludes that additional time is needed to consider the feasibility study conducted by Mathematica and to develop final recommendations to the Legislature. However, the Board did make the following preliminary findings and recommendations:
THE HEALTH SECURITY BOARD SUPPORTS UNIVERSAL COVERAGE FOR ALL MAINE CITIZENS ---EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD LIVING IN THIS STATE DESERVES COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH CARE COVERAGE.
THE HEALTH SECURITY BOARD FINDS THAT MAINTAINING THE 'STATUS QUO' FOR MAINE'S HEALTH CARE SYSTEM CANNOT BE SUSTAINED.
WHILE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND FURTHER ANALYSIS IS NEEDED, THE HEALTH SECURITY BOARD FINDS THAT A SINGLE-PAYER HEALTH CARE SYSTEM PROVIDING UNIVERSAL COVERAGE APPEARS TO BE FINANCIALLY FEASIBLE.
THE HEALTH SECURITY BOARD RECOMMENDS THAT THE LEGISLATURE AUTHORIZE THE BOARD TO CONTINUE ITS WORK UNTIL JANUARY 1, 2004 TO REFINE AND EXTEND THE FINANCIAL FEASIBILTY STUDY AND TO DEVELOP A TRANSTION AND IMPLEMENTATION PLAN FOR ACHIEVING UNIVERSAL COVERAGE THROUGH A SINGLE-PAYER HEALTH CARE SYSTEM IN MAINE.
The Legislature this week will conduct a public hearing on a bill to extend the life of the Board for an additional year. Governor Baldacci has continually expressed his opposition to expanding coverage based upon the model of a single-payer system.
Reacting to release of the report, the Maine Association of Health Plans predictably expressed doubts about the validity of the study and made available to the public an analysis it had commisioned by Milliman USA. In short, the Milliman USA analysis finds fault with the Mathematica study.
MMA is working on its own plan for universal coverage through its ad hoc Committee on Health System Reform chaired by Maroulla Gleaton, M.D. of Augusta.
MMA members wishing to receive either report may contact the office at 622-3374 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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