The state is due to receive $17 million in federal money as part of the new national health care reform law.
The funds, set to arrive this summer, will help extend health insurance coverage until 2014 for an estimated 500 to 700 Mainers who have been uninsured for at least six months and have a pre-existing medical condition, according to the Kennebec Journal. The news came this week as part of the first meeting of the state's new Joint Select Committee on Health Care Reform Opportunities and Implementation, where some of the 17 members expressed concern that $17 million was not enough to cover the uninsured. Trish Riley, director of the Governor's Office of Health Policy and Finance and the architect of Maine's subsidized Dirigo Health program, said the state could expand Dirigo coverage to all high-risk people, but without state funds to invest, Maine can enroll only as many people as the $17 million will cover.
Other members worried Maine may not get as much federal aid as other states because of state insurance benefits already in place. Joy Johnson Wilson of the National Conference of State Legislatures, who attended the meeting, told the committee states like Maine "that go further and innovate should not be punished."
Go to the article from the Kennebec Journal >>