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IN THE NEWS

On Monday, October 3rd, the Commission on Paid Family and Medical Leave will hold a meeting to discuss the preliminary findings of an actuarial report on implementing a statewide PFML program. The meeting will be held remotely and can be watched here.

Members of the Commission— consisting of bipartisan legislators, corporate and small business representatives, and health and labor experts — have been working together closely over the last year to develop a PFML program that works for every Mainer.


Right now, Mainers are working harder than ever, but are struggling to make ends meet. And, in an emergency situation or major life event, many are only able to take unpaid leave, if they’re able to take leave at all. Our working families are being stretched thin and need support.


That’s why it’s critical that the commission delivers a comprehensive PFML program, that gives workers 12 weeks of paid time off to care for a sick loved one, welcome a child, or recover should they fall ill. It helps working families, and it helps small, local businesses compete with larger corporations that may be able to afford or already have a policy in place. It keeps our communities safe and healthy. A statewide PFML policy is a win for everyone.


Tune in at 2 pm to watch the meeting, and call your local legislator to let them know that it’s past time for a PFML program here in Maine!

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A recent U.S. Census report found that the percentage of Maine residents without health insurance dropped from 8 percent to 5.7 percent over three years, making Maine’s uninsured rate about half what it was a decade ago.

The decline in uninsured Mainers has been primarily attributed to state lawmakers’ work to expand Medicaid eligibility expansion in 2019.


Maine went from having the nation’s 26th-lowest uninsured rate in 2019 (8 percent) to 14th in 2021 (5.7 percent). It represents the steepest drop in uninsured residents of any state in the country. As Governor Mills recently said:


“Having health insurance saves lives. That’s why since my first day in office, I have fought to make healthcare more accessible and more affordable for all Maine people. This report shows we are succeeding.”


In recent years, Maine leaders have passed legislation to help expand healthcare access for Mainers across the state.


In 2020 they passed the Made for Maine Health Coverage Act to simplify access to health insurance for individuals and small businesses while also reducing or eliminating costs for common health visits.


In 2021, Maine established CoverME.gov – a statewide health insurance marketplace which allows people to compare and choose from plans uniquely designed for Mainers.


This new census report confirms that our state is moving in the right direction. Mainers for Working Families commends our leaders in Augusta for their continued efforts to make healthcare more accessible and affordable to everyday Mainers.

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For the first time since 2001, Maine’s small businesses can expect to see decreased health insurance premiums under a new law proposed by Governor Janet Mills and passed by the Maine Legislature.


The Made for Maine Health Coverage Act leverages federal funds to help make premiums less costly for small businesses with 50 or fewer employees. Those businesses can expect an average decline of 0.8 percent in health insurance costs in 2023 thanks to this legislation.

This is great news for the approximately 52,000 working Mainers who get their health insurance through their employers in the small group market. As Governor Mills recently said:

“This is a victory for many Maine small businesses and their hardworking employees who rely on the small-group market for health insurance, and it couldn’t come at a better time. As Maine small businesses grapple with high costs from inflation, this is one less thing they will have to worry about.”

The new law is the latest addition to a series of bills designed to make affordable healthcare more accessible to everyday Mainers.

Last session lawmakers passed LD 1778, which directs the Office of Affordable Health to study barriers to affordable healthcare and ways to expand coverage for families and small businesses.

The Legislature also passed LD 1390 to help the state identify people without health insurance who may be eligible for MaineCare or a health plan in the Maine Health Insurance Marketplace (CoverME), by asking about health insurance status on state income tax forms.

Thanks to our leaders in Augusta, more and more Mainers are gaining access to affordable healthcare. We hope to see more progress in the near future as our elected officials continue to work towards meeting the needs of our working families.

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