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– A recent report by Families USA documented that 14,000 Maine workers have become uninsured during the COVID crisis due to losing employer-provided health care. Even prior to the public health pandemic, Maine had the highest uninsured rate of any New England state.
Information about Families USA report:
– In 2017, Maine had the second-highest median household spending on premium contributions for employer coverage of all states, at $3,250 per household.
Information on premium costs:
– An element of the ACA that needs to be fixed is the “family glitch,” which leaves between 2-4 million Americans uninsured, including about 500,000 children. There are many low- to moderate-income families who cannot afford the family plan offered through an employer, but because the employed family member can afford a self-only plan, everyone else loses eligibility for marketplace subsidies. There are likely thousands of Mainers who fall into this category.
Information on the "family glitch":
– States are examining strategies to strengthen their marketplaces and expand coverage. Some have introduced proposals for individuals above Medicaid eligibility levels to “buy-in” to Medicaid or develop a “public option” to strengthen coverage across the individual market and Medicaid. These programs create opportunities for states to make healthcare more affordable and accessible.
Information on a Medicaid buy-in or a healthcare public option:
– Maine’s expansion of its Medicaid program, MaineCare, helps thousands access the coverage and care they need, and experts expect Maine’s uninsured rate in 2019 to show a decline from prior years, once data is released. It is critical that legislators defend the MaineCare program and protect it from budget cuts so that this progress is not reversed.
Information on MaineCare expansion:
– Maine’s Revenue Forecasting Committee has projected a $1.4 billion revenue shortfall over the next three years with a $527.8 million revenue shortfall for the fiscal year ending on June 30th, 2021. If the state is forced to make major cuts to essential services, communities and families will feel the impacts most directly. LD 403 would decouple Maine from the FDII provision in the federal 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This would result in approximately $9 million of new revenue for Maine.
Information on closing corporate tax loopholes:
– Large retailers use a tactic called “dark store theory” to get out of paying property taxes. The “dark store theory” is where commercial property owners challenge their tax assessment by using vacant stores or properties as comparable values; arguing that their value should be aligned with properties that are not in use. This has led to millions of dollars less in property taxes for Maine’s municipalities.
Information on the dark store theory:
– During the 2020 legislative session, advocates supported the passage of LD 1693, which would strengthen Maine’s whistleblower laws by authorizing private persons, acting in the public interest, to enforce the laws governing employment practices and prohibiting unfair discrimination in the workplace. Additionally, this new law would generate revenue for Maine’s Department of Labor.
Information on whistleblower protections:
– During the COVID-19 public health crisis, some business industry groups have been partnering with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to pass state-level legislation to make corporations immune from lawsuits related to COVID-19 - either from workers, consumers, or both.
Information on the danger of corporate immunity:
– Over the past decade, tens of millions of dollars in campaign contributions have flowed from corporations to political candidates, parties, and PACs in Maine. By donating and building relationships, this ensures that their business, industry, or interest remains in good standing with policymakers, on both sides of the aisle. Some advocates are calling on lawmakers to prohibit political candidates and parties from accepting contributions from corporations.
Information on corporate contributions in Maine politics: