Category Archives: health policy

Maine drops to 20th in healthiest state ranking

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Maine fell from 16th to 20th in an annual national health ranking, dragged down by poverty and low vaccination rates among children, among other factors. The state’s finish marks its worst since the nonprofit United Health Foundation launched its “America’s Health Rankings” in 1990. Nearly 21 percent of Maine children live in poverty, a rate that remains largely unchanged […]

Are Maine’s Obamacare enrollment totals inflated too?

A man looks over the HealthCare.gov website. REUTERS|Mike Segar

Obamacare took another gut punch today with news that its often touted enrollment totals erroneously included dental plans. This comes in the wake of more bad news for the health reform law, including a Supreme Court challenge that could undercut its critical insurance subsidies and contradictory comments made by Obamacare consultant and MIT economist Jonathan Gruber. Today’s news boils […]

Vital Signs: Maine health providers prepare for Ebola

Nurse Kaci Hickox may have reached a settlement with the state over how she’ll be monitored for signs of Ebola, but that doesn’t mean the deadly virus has dropped off Maine’s radar. Medical professionals and public officials from across the state gathered Wednesday in Bangor to further prepare for a possible case of the illness. They discussed basic […]

Worried about the Maine food worker who possibly exposed diners to hepatitis A?

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State health officials announced last week that a food service worker in Cumberland County may have exposed diners to hepatitis A. We still don’t know where this occurred or how many people were potentially exposed to the contagious liver disease, because the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention won’t release the information. But the agency was more […]

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 […]