Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Chandler Woodcock Unveils Healthcare Reform Plan
(Bangor, Maine) - Stating that Maine's government must stop being the obstacle to affordable health insurance and start working to ensure the continued access to quality, local healthcare, Republican gubernatorial candidate Senator Chandler Woodcock (Farmington) today released his plan to reform Maine's healthcare system by empowering both the patient and the provider.
"Too often politicians talk in broad statistics and with one-size-fits-all proposals that ignore the unique healthcare needs of each Maine individual and family," Senator Woodcock said. "We must stop thinking that Augusta knows best. We must ensure that healthcare regulation and reform empowers the patient. We must fix health insurance regulations that prohibit a variety of health insurance plans tailored to the unique needs of various populations. Maine people are smart, thrifty and varied. It is time government recognized that in how it regulates our healthcare system."
In his remarks issued today in Bangor, Senator Woodcock said that in order to enact meaningful healthcare reform, Maine's next Governor must:
# Make Maine's health insurance market more competitive
Maine's health insurance market continues to be less competitive not more. Many small rural states have more insurers. We need to learn from them and attract new carriers to Maine to provide more affordable insurance for Maine people. People in New Hampshire pay hundreds less per year in individual health insurance premiums. Forty-seven states have a higher rate of lower-income adults (below 200% of poverty) purchasing private health insurance. Why is that? Because Augusta has overregulated health insurance to be a costly premium out of reach for too many businesses and individuals. That's wrong and must change.
# Stop taxing health insurance in a quest to make it more affordable
Funding expanded government programs by taxing health insurance is wrong. You don't tax something to make it more affordable.
# Promote wellness and support people for making smart lifestyle choices
If a physician-certified personal health plan results in a healthier individual, that person should receive a significant insurance premium discount. Additionally, Maine insurance laws do not allow small businesses to receive breaks on their health premiums if they institute wellness programs and have lower claims. We need to ensure businesses that invest in people and put employees first are rewarded with appropriate financial incentives.
# Enact real Medicaid reform
Medicaid spending has exploded in recent years. The current growth is unsustainable and outpaces funding. The State has responded by cutting rates to providers. A society should be measured in part by how it cares for its most needy. We must ensure that Medicaid protects the neediest and the disabled while remaining adaptable and sustainable now and in the future.
# Pay our past due Medicaid bills to Maine hospitals
By next year, Maine Government will owe its hospitals over $300 million in past due Medicaid bills. We would not allow a private insurance company to not pay claims and we must not tolerate Medicaid doing the same. As Governor, I will ensure Medicaid pays its bills and fix this problem once and for all.
# Emphasize public health issues
Many of our current health concerns need attention. Diabetes, as an example, is an ever-increasing threat for many Mainers. Educating our population about the impact and prevention of diabetes is one of our most critical public health issues. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and diet all play an important role in diabetes prevention. As Governor, I will focus on strengthening not only public health policy but also a sustainable public health infrastructure, developed in conjunction with Maine's healthcare community, which emphasizes preventive healthcare.
"Affordable health insurance and quality, local healthcare are critical to Maine's economic future and success," Senator Woodcock said. "Healthcare is personal and individualized. One-size-fits-all healthcare reform from Augusta hurts everyone. As Governor, I will ensure that Maine's healthcare system empowers both patient and provider."
Currently serving his third term in the Maine Senate, including a term in Republican Leadership, Senator Woodcock has worked to improve Maine's business climate and reduce government spending. A Vietnam War veteran and passionate outdoorsman, Senator Woodcock has served on the Judiciary, Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and the Legal and Veterans' Affairs Committees.
Senator Woodcock worked for 26 years as a public high school teacher at Livermore Falls High School, Mt. Blue High School, and Skowhegan Area High School. He also coached basketball at each school and led the Mt. Blue High School Girls' Basketball team to two State Class A championships in 1999 and 2000. He and his wife Charlotte have four children and two grandchildren.