Testimony: Medicaid for All Children, Regardless of Family Income (LD 200)
Testimony in Opposition to LD 200, “An Act to Require Medicaid Coverage for Certain Children Under 7 Years of Age”
Senator Baldacci, Representative Meyer, and the distinguished members of the Committee on Health and Human Services, my name is Nick Murray and I serve as director of policy for Maine Policy Institute. We are a free market think tank, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that advocates for individual liberty and economic freedom in Maine. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on LD 200.
This bill would require the state to cover health care for a child under seven through MaineCare (Medicaid), regardless of that child’s family’s ability to pay, if that child is not covered through a parent or guardian’s employer-sponsored plan or another private plan.
Making sure that children have access to appropriate medical care should be a basic tenet of society, but that does not mean that it should be a legal mandate. Ultimately, mandating that one’s health care be covered means that the state will involuntarily conscript the labor of a doctor or other medical practitioner without sufficiently compensating that professional for their services. They must provide this care by law, and will be reimbursed at a rate much below the operating cost to provide such care.
By eschewing family income limits, this bill simply creates a moral hazard. It incentivizes middle- and upper-income parents to rely on MaineCare to cover their young children instead of working to provide necessary care for them on their own. MaineCare should be a last resort program for those who truly cannot take care of their own needs and need financial support.
That is precisely why MaineCare expansion is an inappropriate expansion of the program’s scope. Instead of covering nearly 93,000 able-bodied Mainers under the age of 65 without dependents (as of February 1, 2023), the state should ensure that MaineCare resources are targeted toward the state’s most vulnerable and truly needy.
Please deem LD 200 “Ought Not To Pass,” forgo this unnecessary moral hazard and instead work to remove onerous and anti-competitive administrative barriers in Maine’s healthcare regulations in order to sustainably expand care to all who desire it. Thank you for your time and consideration.