Mainers Voice Healthcare Legislation Concerns to Sen. Angus King in Bangor

May 22, 2017

FILE: Sen. Angus King I-Maine, attends the christening ceremony for the USS Raphael Peralta, the 35th Arleigh Burke Class Missile Destroyer to be built by Bath Iron Works, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015, in Bath, Maine.
Credit AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File

Bangor-area residents took their concerns over the impact of the Republican-led American Health Care Act directly to Independent Maine Sen. Angus King today during a listening session at the Bangor Public Library. The event was organized by the AARP, an advocacy group for 50-plus Americans, and King said that while the measure cleared the U.S. House earlier this month, how the bill will fare in the GOP-controlled Senate remains to be seen.

“Question is can they do something that is conservative enough to keep Mike Lee and Ted Cruz and those guys without losing Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski and Dean Heller and Rob Portman and the more moderate Republicans,” King says. “That’s the challenge that they have. They managed to squeak by that in the House — I don’t know if they’re going to be able to do that in the Senate.”

He said Congress could learn a lot from the Maine Employers Mutual Insurance Company that cut workers comp costs in the early 90s by focusing on prevention.

“They started out by putting a lot of emphasis on safety and it’s cut the costs of workers comp because it’s essentially prevention,” he says. “It seems to me that we need to be talking about the same but there has to be some incentive for it.”

King says doctors would have be provided incentives to prevent future medical issues.

Many of those attending the session expressed concerns over Republican plans to increase health care costs for low-income Mainers. According to the AARP, the Republican plan would slash Medicaid by more than $800 billion over 10 years.