- Maine's health insurance premiums are still among the least affordable in the nation, health care spending per person is among the highest and hospital emergency rooms are among the most crowded.
- Maine has the nation’s oldest population, its poor are among the sickest, and its median income ranks low.
- It has a dominant for-profit insurance carrier, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine, which has roughly doubled premiums in the last five years and recently appealed in court to get even higher rates.
- Nearly a quarter of the state’s population participates in Medicaid.
- Maine’s poor are among the sickest in the nation, and its Medicaid benefits are relatively generous. Only Alaska spends more per adult Medicaid beneficiary.
- To compensate for such expensive care, the state pays doctors and hospitals relatively skimpy fees for treating Medicaid patients. As a result, doctors are closing solo practices and joining hospitals, which then have the market power to jack up rates to private insurers in a common problem called cost-shifting.
- The state is one of 17 that limit how much insurers can charge people for being older, and it does not allow exclusions for previous illnesses.
- Maine’s Legislature rejected a mandate for everyone to buy insurance so many young people do not or cannot buy insurance — further skewing the insured pool to sicker and older people and making premiums that much higher.
They forgot to mention that Maine has one of the heaviest tax burdens in the country for its population.
I am sure physicians from around the country are salivating to come here after reading the above. Well, there is always the moose and whoopie pies. That should tilt the scale somewhat.