Statement on Rate Hike Legislative Priority
House and Senate Democrats yesterday announced a set of priorities focused on improving the economy and supporting the middle class.
We're glad to see that one of these priorities is fixing the rate hike bill, Public Law 90, and that House Speaker Mark Eves cited the rate hikes experienced by Maine Small Business Coalition members in his remarks as a problem that must be addressed.
Fixing Maine's insurance system means taking three immediate steps:
1. Reinstating and strengthening rate review and oversight so that insurance companies can no longer arbitrarily increase premiums.
2. Rescinding the portion of the law that allows insurers to charge higher premiums based on age and group size, geographic location, and industry/occupation, among other factors, which has led to higher premiums for fisherman, loggers, farmers and small businesses in rural Maine.
3. Cancelling the new tax on the insured that subsidizes insurance company profits.
In a broader sense, fixing our health care system means recognizing that access to health care is both a human right and a prerequisite for strengthening our communities and economy. Policy in this area should be based on the needs of Maine individuals and small businesses and not the interests of the insurance industry.