There is a simple solution for Maine leaders to make healthcare more affordable for working families – all it takes is continuing a small fee to big, for-profit health insurance companies; a fee they've been paying since 2014.

By ending the federal health insurance assessment (HIA), former President Trump ensured that the for-profit insurance companies scored big – their profits soared while Mainers continued to suffer under high healthcare costs during this pandemic.

But Maine has the option to continue it on the state level, which gives us control over where that revenue is needed most. Click here to read Dr. Rocco Ciocca’s article on how the HIA could make healthcare more affordable.

Several states are already choosing to continue the federal HIA on a state level, which is generating millions in revenue that goes to expanding access to quality healthcare.

“The state-based assessment could help lower the cost of premiums, eliminate out-of-pocket costs and reduce prescription drug costs – all of which have increased,” wrote Dr. Ciocca. “Too many of my patients struggle to keep up with these rising healthcare costs as they’re outpacing wage growth.” Read the full article here.

If you agree that Maine's must do all it can to ensure that every one of us has access to comprehensive and affordable care, share this article on Facebook and Twitter.

Nearly 20 percent of Mainers couldn’t afford their medication before the COVID crisis, and more have gone without the care they need because the out-of-pocket costs and premiums were just too high.

Our state leaders and representatives are working hard to get us back on track – the best way to do that is to make sure that every Mainer can access affordable, quality healthcare. Continuing the HIA will help Maine do just that.

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Updated: a day ago

We’re nearing the year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our state is beginning to recover: vaccination clinics are expanding, and our communities are working hard to keep healthy and get back on track economically.

While we’re on the right path, many working families and small businesses still need help.

The good news is Maine has many resources still available for those that need it most.

What do I do if I get sick?

If you receive a positive COVID-19 test, or find yourself with symptoms of COVID-19, the CDC recommends:

  • Stay home, and only leave if you need to seek medical care.

  • Take care of yourself. Getting enough rest, drinking water, and eating healthy will help you heal faster.

  • Monitor your symptoms, and be sure to get care if you have trouble breathing.

  • Keep away from other people as much as possible, even in your own home.

  • Inform your close contacts, so they can get tested.

What resources are available if I am unemployed?

  • Maine has been expanding the eligibility of federal unemployment benefits for workers impacted by COVID-19. The current extension began in the new year and will be available until at least March 13, 2021. For more unemployment information, click here.

What do I do if I’m struggling to pay my bills?

There are social safety nets in place to help alleviate the pressure. If you need food assistance:

  • Resources on Social Service programs including School Lunches, SNAP, TANF and more are available here.

  • If you need access to a food bank, visit this website to find one near you.

If you need healthcare:

  • You can apply for MaineCare anytime through My Maine Connection.

  • Affordable healthcare coverage options are available under a new special enrollment period. You can enroll in Marketplace health coverage February 15 through May 15. Find out if you qualify here.

  • Consumers for Affordable Healthcare provides a free assistance hotline to help guide you on all things healthcare-related. You can find the helpline here.

What is the status of opening schools in Maine?

Maine’s public schools are opening based on each county’s specific risk level — with requirements in place such as face coverings for all, six feet of distance, symptom screening, home isolation if sick, and more.

  • All Counties are currently marked GREEN, which means there is a relatively low risk of COVID-19 spread and that schools may consider in-person instruction.

  • State officials revisit the status of each county and its schools every two weeks.

When can I get vaccinated?

Because there is a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines, Maine is distributing vaccines in phases. Maine has just adopted an age-based phase approach for vaccine eligibility, depending upon the availability of vaccines. The new schedule is as follows:

  • March 3: 60 and older

  • April: 50 and older

  • May: 40 and older

  • June: 30 and older

  • July and beyond: Ages 29 and under

We know there is still a long way to go when it comes to our recovery, but if we rely on each other and work together (at a distance), we can pull through.

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Updated: Feb 19

If we’re going to do economic recovery right, working families and small businesses need more protection, not less – that means investing in our essential services, like healthcare, education, and public safety, and preventing property tax increases for families by asking big corporations and the very wealthy to pay their fair share.

We need our elected officials to focus on tax fairness.

Ensuring tax fairness means: closing corporate tax loopholes, ensuring that the wealthiest among us pay their fair share of taxes, and providing property tax relief for working Mainers and small businesses.

Closing Corporate Tax Loopholes

Many big multinational corporations in Maine utilize tax loopholes to get out of paying their fair share for the use of our roads, our resources, and our workers. Some even use tax havens, which allow them to hide their profits overseas simply to avoid being taxed.

Closing corporate tax loopholes could generate upwards of $5 million in revenue for Maine, and eliminating tax havens could generate as much as $40 million, preventing cuts to essential programs or considerable tax hikes that would hurt families who are already struggling.

Ensuring the Wealthiest Pay Their Fair Share

The economic impacts of COVID-19 were exacerbated by tax cuts for the wealthiest Mainers that were provided during Governor LePage’s administration.

If we place a wealth tax on Maine’s highest net worth individuals and families and end the LePage income tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations, we could ensure that working Mainers are protected from shouldering the burden of our recovery, while guaranteeing continued access to the services they need most.

Providing Property Tax Relief

Mainers have been struggling with the rising property tax burden long before we were hit with this pandemic. Hikes is property taxes put a heavier burden on the working families and small businesses that have struggled the most during this crisis. Meanwhile, corporations are making record profits, and the wealthiest among us keep getting richer. Rather than put our recovery solely on our working families and small businesses, we should be asking the big corporations and the wealthiest individuals and families here in Maine to pay their fair share.

We’re not going to help hardworking families and small business owners get back on their feet if we force them to shoulder a disproportionate tax burden, or by cutting essential services they rely on to stay healthy. By focusing on tax fairness, our elected officials can help us pull through this crisis and keep our state successful long-term.

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