Abstract: This spring, after living under the costly failures of Obamacare-like health care legislation for two decades, the Maine Legislature enacted a set of patient-centered, market-based health care reforms. The Maine experience is both a warning of Obamacare’s likely effects and a practical demonstration to other states of how to enact sound free-market health care reforms in spite of Obamacare. Maine has also shown how much more it and other states could accomplish if not hamstrung by Obamacare and how Congress could chart a better course toward more innovative and effective health care reform.
Faced with the uncertainty surrounding Obamacare, legislators in many states have deferred action on health care reform, instead waiting for final resolution of the constitutional challenges making their way through the federal courts and the outcome of the 2012 elections. During their legislative sessions earlier this year, most states neither enacted Obamacare-enabling legislation nor advanced their own, alternative health care reform designs.
One notable exception is Maine, where a new Republican governor and legislative majorities charted a different course for health care reform. This spring, after living under the costly failures of Obamacare-like health care legislation for two decades, Maine’s new state leadership enacted a set of patient-centered, market-based health care reforms. In the process, they reversed a set of policies that mirrored key elements of Obamacare.
Thus, Maine’s experience is instructive for other states in two important respects. Maine’s past offers lessons on the likely adverse effects of Obamacare if fully implemented, and Maine’s new direction shows how to reverse and replace Obamacare with better patient-centered, market-based approaches. In sum, Maine offers other states and Congress a practical example of how to repeal and replace Obamacare with sound free-market health care reforms.
Maine’s Obamacare Precedents
Precursors to key elements of Obamacare can be found in health care legislation enacted in a number of states over the past two decades. For example, Maryland’s 1993 small-group health insurance law imposed a minimum standard benefit package designed and annually updated by a commission. In 1994, Tennessee authorized TennCare, a massive Medicaid expansion, and in 2006, Massachusetts passed legislation that included an individual mandate to buy health insurance. During the same period, Maine arguably enacted more Obamacare building blocks than any other state…. Read more.
Download a PDF of the study.
Read more of this study regarding Maine’s recent health insurance reform legislation. Tarren Bragdon was actively involved in the supporting research for this historic reform, guiding it through the legislative process and providing analysis of these concepts in his previous position as CEO of The Maine Heritage Policy Center immediately before founding the Foundation for Government Accountability.