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  • Healthcare proposal to keep health insurance within reach for over 66,500 Mainers

     A bipartisan measure sponsored by Rep. Linda Sanborn, D-Gorham, would protect the tax credits that help more than 66,500 Mainers access health care coverage through the health insurance marketplace.

    “We know that 66,576 Mainers are able to have the security of health care coverage thanks to these tax credits. Without these subsidies, they would lose that coverage and access to life-changing health care that can reduce disability, help more people work and save lives,” said Sanborn, a retired family physician. “This straightforward bill provides a commonsense solution that keeps health insurance affordable for tens of thousands of Mainers.”

    LD 1344, An Act To Protect Maine Consumers in the Individual Health Insurance Market and Support Maine's Economy, safeguards the subsidies, called the Advance Premium Tax Credits, in the event that the U.S. Supreme Court decides in the King v. Burwell case that state-based marketplaces cannot offer them to consumers. Under the Affordable Care Act, states could run their own marketplaces, also called exchanges, or have a federally facilitated one. Maine opted for a federally facilitated marketplace.

    The bill would establish a state-run exchange for Maine if the federal government notifies the state that the tax credits will be unavailable through its federally facilitated marketplace.

    According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 74,805 Mainers had a health insurance plan for 2015 through the federally facilitated marketplace, with 89 percent – or 66,576 individuals – making use of the tax credits. The average monthly credit is $332.

    The Advanced Premium Tax Credits are available to those making between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. For a household of four, 100 percent of the federal poverty level is $23,850 and 400 percent is $95,400.

    The bill is cosponsored by Rep. Henry Beck, D-Waterville, Rep. Janice Cooper, D-Yarmouth, Rep. Robert Foley, R-Wells, Sen. Geoff Gratwick, D-Bangor, Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, Rep. Matt Pouliot, R-Augusta, Rep. Karen Vachon, R-Scarborough, and Sen. Amy Volk, R-Scarborough.

     The bill has been referred to the Insurance and Financial Affairs Committee. A public hearing is scheduled for May 7.