The skewed economics of DirigoChoice [Maine's "public option"] have left it highly dependent on government financing, which has created a series of problems for policymakers. The program’s initial funding mechanism was nothing short of bizarre: Each year, the Dirigo Health Agency had to come up with a number that (according to its experts) represented the amount of money DirigoChoice had “saved” the Maine health-care system; the law then required Maine insurance companies to pay that amount to the state. Needless to say, those calculations ended up being something less than rigorous, and the insurance companies objected. Employers argued that insurers were simply passing on the bill for these “savings-offset payments” to private policyholders. Last year, the furor over the payments led the agency to downgrade its savings estimate by $40 million, making the whole process look like an arbitrary sham.The problem is, what makes anyone think that a national "public option" won't go broke just as fast as the state options are? Are you prepared to pay 60% or more of what you make, just to feed a voracious government maw? I'm not and I plan to write (not email) my Senators and Congressman over the next few days. I plan to keep writing often to voice my displeasure on ObamaCare.
The Democratic legislature tried to replace this funding mechanism with a tax on beer, wine, and soda, but Mainers exercised a “voters’ veto” and repealed this tax via referendum. Running out of money, the legislature went back to taxing Maine insurance companies (and, by extension, private policyholders), enacting a 2 percent tax on all paid insurance claims. The state also has capped enrollment in order to keep costs from spiraling further out of control. The program’s supporters are now looking to Washington for help. “We have a very limited capacity because of limited resources,” Maine Office of Health Policy and Finance director Trish Riley said recently. “With federal money, more people would become eligible and the federal government would require people to have coverage.”
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Why Did Olympia Snowe vote for ObamaCare? Because Maine, like Vermont and Massachusetts has a "public option" health insurance "choice" and it's going broke. So state officials are praying Obamacare passes so that their states won't have to foot the bill any more. Uncle Sugar would pick up the slack as the states would no longer be on the hook for the ridiculously expensive plans they've decided are necessary.