Maine’s history is a cautionary tale for national health reform. The state could never figure out how to slow the spiraling increase in medical costs, hobbling its efforts to offer more people insurance coverage. Many on Capitol Hill have criticized national reform legislation for similarly doing little to tame costs.
To Ms. Snowe, Maine’s past shows that change, while needed, should be incremental because mistakes are common. This is among the reasons she opposes an immediate public insurance option. “I mentioned to the president that people can’t digest everything at once,” she said in an interview.
To conservatives, Maine proves that government efforts to strictly regulate the nation’s health insurance market are doomed. Many of the reform proposals circulating on Capitol Hill have already been tried in Maine.
“These reforms are very well-intentioned, but in reality they have yet to produce the promised results or even be financially sustainable,” said Tarren R. Bragdon, chief executive of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, a conservative research organization in Portland.
A state does some of the same things that congress wants to do, and the costs still rise, yet congress says these are the things that will bring down costs?