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Sun May 12, 2019, 04:56 AM

History shows that enacting universal health care in Maine faces long odds

Maine legislative committees will hold Thursday hearings on several Democratic proposals aimed at ensuring universal health care coverage through a variety of different methods — from single-payer systems to public options.

Universal coverage is something that Maine — one of at least 19 states considering single-payer bills this year — has discussed more than most states. The idea is having a moment in the national spotlight amid high-level Democratic support for a “Medicare for all” concept.

But it is a difficult issue and likely to be only studied more in the short term: Maine’s 2003 try at universal coverage fell far short of that goal for reasons including expensive premiums and unpopular funding methods. Vermont ended a more ambitious try at a single-payer system in 2014.

Maine has pursued universal coverage in the past and continued to study it in a restrained manner during the LePage administration. Single-payer bills have been a perennial discussion among progressives in the Legislature, but they have never gotten far because of the complexity of implementing such a system and Republican opposition to the concept. Still, Maine has probably gotten farther than any state but California and Vermont.

Read more: https://bangordailynews.com/2019/05/09/politics/daily-brief/history-shows-that-enacting-universal-health-care-in-maine-faces-long-odds/

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