Two key components of the new law are the Maine Health Care Plan and the Maine Health Care Board. The Plan component is “to provide for all medically necessary health care services for all residents of the State.” The Board’s role is “to oversee the planning and implementation…, and to administer the Plan”, including obtaining a federal waiver for a state-based plan, and federal financing to support implementation.
The Legislature also passed a Joint Resolution expressing the need for universal healthcare, asking Congress to enact legislation to authorize states to obtain a state universal health care waiver.
This bill and the Joint Resolution are significant, representing the first time the Maine legislature has taken even this small step in support of universal healthcare. In addition, LD 1045 and the Joint Resolution were passed by the legislature during a very busy session, when many expected that universal healthcare would not receive any attention.
Though leaving much work ahead, the past years of efforts – hours of in-person or online public testimony, meetings with and producing informative and supporting documents for legislators – has moved the Maine Legislature to ask the Federal government to implement healthcare reform or remove the barriers for states such as Maine to lead the way.