Comprehensive health insurance (Maine)

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In June 2003, the Maine, USA Legislature passed a comprehensive health insurance plan, granting low-cost coverage available to all state residents by 2009. Through a semi-private agency, the state will provide coverage to uninsured residents, small businesses and municipalities and the self-employed.

Premiums are to be set on a sliding scale. For example, individuals making below $27,000 and families making below $55,000 will be eligible for reduced rates.

A watchdog group will be created to monitor hospital and doctor costs.

The bill passed the Maine House of Representatives 105 to 38, and the Maine Senate 25 to 8.

About 15,000 of the 140,000 uninsured have been covered by the program. The original project goals were to pay for the program with savings from reducing inefficiencies in the existing system and not raise taxes, while providing insurance to 140,000 people. This year the State raised taxes over 5% to help pay for this program and enrolment in the program is closed due to cost issues.

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