Governor John Baldacci
From the Maine Heritage Policy Center, Tarren Bragdon reports:
Passed in 2003, Maine’s Dirigo Health initiative was lauded as the first state-based universal coverage program this decade.
Governor John Baldacci promised that Dirigo Health would:
(1) provide coverage for all of Maine’s 128,000 uninsured by 2009;
(2) not require any new taxes;
(3) be paid for by savings created in the health care system in Maine; and
(4) reduce health insurance and health care costs for all.
The core element of the Dirigo Health initiative was the DirigoChoice “public option” insurance product – designed by state government, administered by a private insurer, subsidized by state tax dollars, and mainly marketed by state government to Maine small businesses and individuals.
What has been the result?
(1) Dirigo Health has cost taxpayers $155 million over five years in subsidies and administrative costs alone.
(2) Today, DirigoChoice covers just 3,400 uninsured (less than 3 percent of Maine’s uninsured population).
(3) The DirigoChoice premiums for sole proprietors and individuals have skyrocketed 74% in 4 years (4 times faster than the Maine State Employees health plan (17%) and 7 times faster than inflation [10%]).
One would think "The Health Czar" would be all over this.