Category Archives: health policy

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, […]

You don’t have to call your doctor to get lab results anymore

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Patients can now get their medical test results directly from the laboratory, without going through a doctor’s office. The new rule, part of the Obama administration’s effort to give patients more say in their health care, particularly affects Maine and a dozen other states that permit labs to release results only to health care providers. Announced on […]

Maine weighs wider use of drug that prevents overdose deaths

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Maine’s failing to prevent drug deaths by limiting distribution of a medication that counteracts overdoses and punishing those who call 911 to report overdoses, according to a recent analysis. But new legislation could change the state’s approach. The analysis, performed in October by the Trust for America’s Health, was publicized again this week in light […]