The Obamacare law is failing. It’s taking the health insurance market down with it and hurting tens of thousands of Maine families. We must fix this serious problem, or it’ll get worse.
When the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, was passed, we were told we could keep our health insurance plan and doctor, and our insurance cost would drop $2,500 per year. That has not happened.
This year, monthly Obamacare premiums for thousands of individuals and small businesses in Maine have risen, on average, another 14 percent to 24 percent. Deductibles commonly reach $6,000 to $7,000 per year so families end up paying for health care services out of pocket and never even use the insurance.
And it’s getting worse.
The largest Obamacare health insurance provider in Maine is Community Health Options in Lewiston. Last year, it lost $58 million.
Anthem is one of only two other health insurance companies doing business in Maine. Last week, it announced it would begin the process to stop writing Obamacare coverage in 2018 if the collapsing law is not changed.
Many fellow Mainers pushed out of health insurance by the ACA law have no other option but hospital emergency rooms when they get sick or have an accident.
This is not fair, and this is not right. If we do nothing, Obamacare will continue to implode and more Maine families will lose their health insurance.
We can do a whole lot better. And, that’s what I’m working hard to do.
It will take time to unwind the damaging parts of the ACA law and provide incentives for the competitive market to take hold. Since being elected to Congress two years ago, I have opposed doing away with the Obamacare law without a common-sense free market solution in its place.
At the time, the Portland Press Herald’s editorial board wrote, “Poliquin’s opposition to his party’s measure showed that he’s prepared to put his constituents ahead of party politics.” I’m doing exactly what I said I’d do. The hard work is paying off.
The proposal introduced last week is a first step. This proposal includes a number of successful common-sense reforms, some of which Maine has already used, including making sure nobody is denied health insurance if they want it; no lifetime caps on coverage; family members up to age 26 can be covered on their parents’ plans; and coverage for pre-existing health conditions.
It shouldn’t surprise you that the media claims that I endorse this first draft of the House Republican proposal in its entirety. Like every proposal that comes before me, I am thoroughly and carefully studying the bill, looking for ways to improve it.
I’m honored and grateful for the opportunity to fight for our Maine families. Every week, my office receives and responds to roughly a thousand phone calls, emails and hand-written letters from constituents. During most weekends, I crisscross our sprawling 2nd District to meet with hundreds of more fellow Mainers, listening to what’s on your minds.
I don’t shy away from making tough decisions and tackling difficult problems.
After years of others trying to get it done, I took on the entrenched Pentagon bureaucracy, Washington special interests, and members of my own party to finally help secure 900 shoe making jobs at New Balance factories in Skowhegan, Norridgewock and Norway. This big win for Maine workers requires U.S. taxpayer dollars to buy 100 percent American-made athletic shoes for our new military recruits every year.
Opposing my own party leadership and Washington special interests, I voted, twice, against fast track trade promotion authority, which would harm Maine jobs. I also opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement because it, too, could harm Maine workers.
I battled Washington regulators and Wall Street lobbyists to stop their plan to do away with paper reports on retirement savings for our seniors. Twin Rivers Paper Co. in Madawaska manufactures that specialty paper – 600 good-paying jobs with benefits in the St. John Valley. The full-page attack ads didn’t stop me from doing what’s right for Maine workers and seniors.
Last month, I helped an outstanding woman-owned business, Auburn Manufacturing, and its 40 employees beat back unfair and illegal Chinese trade. Americans can compete and win against anyone when the playing field is level.
I’m using my new role on the powerful Veterans Affairs Committee to push for quicker and easier access to health care for our heroes who live in the most rural parts of Maine.
I’m not in Congress to provide soundbites. I’m in Congress to get things done. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing since Day One.