Opinion

Maine’s senators are out of touch on ObamaCare

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If Washington insiders were forced to use the failing ObamaCare system, they would think twice about the gridlock they are causing right now.

U.S. Senators like Senators Susan Collins and Angus King are enjoying Cadillac health insurance plans while they are mandating Americans ride a moped. They are so busy seeking the national limelight, they are ignoring the people in their own state.

Quite simply, ObamaCare is collapsing because it is unaffordable. Premiums and deductibles have skyrocketed, and private insurers are fleeing states, leaving fewer options for the individual marketplace.

The individual mandate has been a disaster. Despite the ObamaCare failure, Democrats continue to claim millions of Americans will be “kicked off” their insurance if the individual mandate is repealed.

If the individual mandate is repealed, these people will not be “kicked off” health insurance. They will be able to decide for themselves whether they want to pay for health insurance and not be penalized by the government if they don’t.

Politicians should have the courage to do what they were elected to do: replace ObamaCare with market-based policies that provide patient-centered health reform, rather than government-run health care.

When it comes to providing affordable healthcare to the Maine people, Senators Collins and King are worse than out of touch — they are downright dangerous to Mainers and the economy. Expanding Medicaid in 2002 nearly bankrupted our state, but now Collins and King are pushing to expand it again.

Our administration has worked hard to finally pay $750 million in Medicaid debt owed to our hospitals. Despite its massive price tag, Medicaid expansion didn’t get good results. Maine had 110,000 uninsured people in 2002 — and it had 110,000 uninsured people in 2011. It was very expensive, but it was not very effective.

It didn’t have to be this way. Maine was a national leader in health care reform back in 2011.

Our reforms in Public Law 90 fixed the problems with government-run health care. PL90 created an innovative type of high-risk pool, which held down costs of frequent health-care users. PL90 allowed the purchase of health insurance across state lines and let small groups to band together for better rates.

Premiums for young people dropped as much as 70 percent. It also incentivized the use of lower-cost services. This prevented large premium increases, and we saw more premium decreases. We became a leader in helping Mainers get better access to more affordable health insurance.

Washington politicians are still arguing over ObamaCare and how to fix it, but Maine had a solution all along. Unfortunately, Senators Collins and King have been driving too fast in their Cadillacs to notice it.

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