The M.D. Harmon column on health insurance reform in Maine (“State’s health insurance law a step in the right direction,” June 1) is another example of a backer of market-based reforms ignoring their deficiencies.

These reforms are nothing other than a way to extract money while minimizing a payout.

Despite Republican-backed reforms, Anthem is still basically the only individual market player in Maine.

And that will likely continue to increase if Dirigo Health is phased out.

New Hampshire has experienced the same after reinstating market reform years ago. Few want to offer individual plans at affordable prices in a small state.

Harmon doesn’t point out that prices for individual policies exceed $1,500 for a couple in their late 50s with a deductible of $2,250.

Many Mainers don’t have the ability to afford those prices and still eat.

So they move their deductible up to $10,000 or more per year, at which point many question whether being insured is better than the option of saving what one can and paying one’s medical expenses in cash.

And even those high-deductible policies run more than $800 per month.

The individual market in Maine is still a wreck and will continue to worsen with market-based reform, especially for older residents. That includes most of us.

Meanwhile, Vermont has moved toward single-payer reform.

It will be interesting to see which reform will work best.

And remember, Republicans, we will rate that comparison when we go to the ballot box.

Howard Hansen is a resident of Biddeford.