|January 7, 2020
The Maine Legislature returned to the Capitol this Wednesday. And while the federal political landscape will certainly be consumed by aggressive political campaigns and endless speculation about which party will rule Washington, D.C., the same can’t be said at the state level. Sure, there will be some aggressive state legislative campaigns this fall, and associated policy battles in Augusta, but Governor Mills enters her second year in office and isn’t up for re-election until 2022.
Commissioner of Health & Human Services, Jeanne Lambrew appeared before the Committee on Health and Human Services on day one of the session to provide a short overview and update on DHHS operations and initiatives. Issues discussed included the reopening of a Calais DHHS office, public health nursing staffing and improving coverage and affordability of care for your patients. While MaineCare expansion is a major focus of the office, Commissioner Lambrew stressed coverage goes beyond MaineCare while pointing Committee members to CoverMe.gov for private insurance coverage
A major focus from Commissioner Lambrew’s presentation was a high-level overview of the Governor’s new proposal, which was hot off the presses. The Made for Maine Health Coverage Act was introduced the first day of session and quickly referred to the Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services (no scheduled hearing as of print). The bill targets out-of-pocket costs, small business insurance and a state-based marketplace exchange, among other things. She also touched on the work of Gordon Smith and the Governor’s Opioid Response Strategic Action Plan framework and its focus on, prevention, overdose rescue, treatment and recovery.
Over 400 bills were carried over from the first session to the second session, and another 150 news bills have been introduced for the second session. Although nowhere near the 1,500+ introduced during the first session, the legislators certainly will be busy poring through 550+ in 2020. The pace of work will naturally pick up. Committees have become to meet, hear bills and will continue to receive briefings from relevant stakeholders and agencies.
Despite the MMA leadership transition and shift of government affairs responsibilities, the presence, philosophy and advocacy of the MMA remains a constant. We will continue to promote protecting the physician-patient relationship and fight to ensure that all Mainers have access to high quality care. We engage in the legislative arena and monitor regulatory proposals so that you can continue to do what you do best – take care of patients with excellence.
MMA Legislative Committee Chairs Jay Mullen, M.D. and Lindsey Tweed, M.D. welcome you to participate in the weekly conference calls of the MMA Legislative Committee. The first MMA Legislative Committee weekly conference call for the Second Regular Session of the 129th Maine Legislature will take place next Tuesday, January 14th, at 8:00 p.m.< Previous Article | Next Article >
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