A Series of Unfortunate Events: Dirigo – Maine’s “Public Option” Is a Costly Failure
Read the full report | 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?
• Dirigo Health has cost taxpayers $155 million over five years in subsidies and administrative costs alone.
• Today, DirigoChoice covers just 3,400 uninsured (less than 3 percent of Maine’s uninsured population).
• Incredibly, 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%)).
A look at government run healthcare Part 3: Dirigo Health — True North Reports
Posted on Jun 01, 2011
[...] One of the reasons for the lack of participation in Dirigo was the actual cost of the program. The individuals and small businesses the Dirigo was supposed to benefit saw their premiums rise by 74% in five years (4 times faster than Maine State Employees health plan (17%) and 7 times faster than inflation. (Maine Policy)· [...]