Press Release: Major Healthcare Reform Legislation Passed


June 6, 2017
CONTACT: Matthew Gagnon
Chief Executive Officer

Augusta–Last week, a new movement in healthcare scored a major victory. Governor LePage signed LD 1385 into law, a bipartisan bill that provides legal protection for Direct Primary Care (DPC) physicians. These providers bypass insurance companies and charge their patients a regular, flat fee to provide routine health care services. By cutting insurance companies and government agencies out of the primary care equation, DPC physicians are able to offer their patients unlimited visits and more personalized care.

Prior to this law’s passage, DPC practices were technically engaged in health insurance, and were exposed to the possibility that the Bureau of Insurance could impose costly regulations on their businesses, such as the requirement to maintain significant capital reserves or undergo extensive financial audits. With the passage of this bill, DPC practices are now exempt from burdensome insurance regulations. This reform may make it easier to attract physicians to Maine, increase health care access, and reduce costs by revolutionizing the doctor-patient relationship.

The Maine Heritage Policy Center (MHPC), a conservative nonprofit think tank which published a detailed study of DPC last summer, led the effort to pass the bill. Working closely with the direct primary care community in Maine and the legislation’s sponsor, Senator Rodney Whittemore, MHPC helped draft the bill and shepherd it through the legislative process.

“This bill’s passage is a significant step toward reducing government intervention in health care and letting market forces improve the quality of care while reducing its cost,” said Matthew Gagnon, CEO of The Maine Heritage Policy Center. “I’m delighted that my organization was able to play a central role in this bill becoming law.”

The Maine Osteopathic Association, which represents about 400 osteopathic physicians in Maine, supported the bill, writing: “The [DPC] model provides affordable and cost-effective healthcare outside of the insurance model.”

Several of Maine’s existing DPC physicians also testified in favor of the bill. Dr. Mike Ciampi, who runs a DPC practice in South Portland, said “[LD 1385] defines DPC very clearly and assures that this model may continue to grow […] without fearing that [the Bureau of Insurance] will not confuse it with an insurance product and regulate it out of existence.”