Category Archives: health policy

Maine once arrested an infected TB patient: How Kaci Hickox is different

Kaci Hickox, a nurse who arrived in New Jersey on October 24 after treating Ebola patients in West Africa, speaks to her lawyer Norman Siegel from a hospital quarantine tent in Newark, New Jersey, October 26, 2014, in a photo provided by attorney Steve Hyman.

In September 2006, John Donohue landed in Cumberland County Jail for refusing to take medication to prevent the spread of his tuberculosis.  Legal and health officials described the 54-year-old transient’s case as the first time in Maine that a person was imprisoned to avoid spreading a potentially fatal disease. With disagreement reaching a fever pitch over how Maine should respond […]

Should the U.S limit travel to protect Americans from Ebola?

LA Fire Department Paramedic truck drives past a United Airlines plane from New York's JFK airport, that was diverted to a remote gate after landing at LAX, after a passenger on the flight exhibited flu-like symptoms, in Los Angeles

Fears about the spread of the deadly Ebola virus have led many Americans to push for closing the country’s borders to travelers from West Africa, ground zero of the outbreak. U.S. House Republicans are demanding that President Barack Obama impose new travel restrictions, a step the president continues to resist. Obama said yesterday that “a flat-out travel ban is not […]

Vital Signs newsletter: Insurers seek modest rate increases

Some feared health insurance premiums would skyrocket under the Affordable Care Act. But the two insurers selling plans to Maine consumers want to raise rates just modestly in 2015, well below the double-digit hikes seen in previous years. The proposed rates offer a tentative first look at how much insurers seek to charge during the second year […]

Vital Signs newsletter: Lewiston insurer attracts rural Mainers under ACA

More than 40,000 Mainers have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Most of them chose a plan through Maine Community Health Options, a new member-run insurer that captured 80 percent of the market here despite competition from the much larger and well-established Anthem. New figures released by MCHO reveal the startup made […]

Adults can overdose on two pills of potent new painkiller

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Two members of Maine’s congressional delegation are pressuring federal regulators to revoke approval of a new painkiller that’s among the most powerful on the market. Congressman Mike Michaud and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree signed a letter in December to U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg asking her to reconsider approval of the narcotic Zohydro ER, awarded last […]

As ACA deadline looms, Maine doctors show support for single-payer health care

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With March 31 fast approaching as the deadline to buy health insurance under the Affordable Care act, the state’s largest physicians group has released new survey results showing Maine doctors favor a very different kind of health reform. The survey of Maine Medical Association members shows nearly two-thirds of doctors prefer a single-payer health care system. […]

Did MaineCare’s crackdown on opiates fuel our state’s heroin problem?

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Not long after MaineCare cracked down on the availability of narcotic prescriptions early last year, police reported a spike in heroin abuse. Maine addiction specialists agree: They say the restrictions, while working to prevent some Mainers from getting hooked on painkillers, also squeeze the drug supply to fuel addiction elsewhere. Enter Maine’s growing heroin problem, […]