Bill to protect health insurance coverage becomes law after override of LePage veto

By Ramona du Houx

The Maine Senate on May 28,2018 overrode Governor LePage’s veto of legislation submitted by Rep. Joyce “Jay" McCreight, D-Harpswell, which will codify essential preventative health care coverage in Maine law. The override vote was 30 to 4. The Maine House previously overrode the governor’s veto by a vote of 115 to 34.

“Regardless of what happens at the federal level with the Affordable Care Act, Maine will have access to preventive healthcare services like cancer screenings, annual exams and childhood immunizations,” said Rep. McCreight. “Those services are critical for the good of Maine families and the employers who rely on a healthy workforce. I’m proud of the bipartisan support for this legislation.”

LD 1476 requires that health care coverage include essential preventative services. The bill ensures that these services continue to be covered in Maine regardless of potential changes at the federal level.

"By making sure our health plans include essential preventative services, we offer the best protection we can for individuals by contributing to their economic and personal success, to the health of their families, to the health of our communities, and we lower the human and economic damage that ill health brings,” said Rep. McCreight.

“Most important to cancer prevention is the bill’s requirement for coverage of all services given an A or B rating by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, or USPSTF,” said Hilary Schneider, the director of government relations for the Maine Chapter of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “This includes preventative and early detection screening for colorectal cancer, early detection screening for breast cancer, and preventive and early detection screening for cervical cancer. Access to these tests saves lives.”

According to the American Cancer Society, early detection of cancer can lead to an increased life expectancy of multiple years.

Knowing if one could be prone to many illnesses has been proven to increase one's life expectancy.

“The fact is that, whether it’s expanding Medicaid or working to make health insurance more comprehensive and more affordable, Maine Democrats will always lead the fight to see that all Mainers have access high-quality health care," said Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett.  "On behalf of Maine Democrats, I congratulate and thank Representative McCreight for introducing this bill and spearheading bipartisan efforts to get it across the finish line.”

McCreight, a member of the Legislature’s Judiciary and Health and Human Services Committees, is serving her second term in the Maine House. She represents Harpswell, West Bath and part of Brunswick.