Maine Mathematica 2002

Feasibility of a Single-Payer Health Care Model for the State of Maine

By: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. and Watson Wyatt and Company
Authors: Deborah Chollet, Glen Mays, January Angeles, Roland McDevitt, and Ryan Lore
Published: December 24, 2002
Financed by: Maine State Legislature, which created the Health Care System and Health Security Board to explore the feasibility of a single-payer system for Maine.
Legislation analyzed: None. Authors estimate multiple single-payer health plan designs.

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In summary, a single payer system appears to be economically feasible for Maine. Much lower cost sharing and more limited use of managed care than now prevail among insured consumers in Maine would increase the cost of a single payer system and make financing more difficult. However, providing every resident with approximately the same benefit as large firm employees receive would minimize demand growth among the insured population and achieve net savings from a single payer system, even in the near term.

The challenges of transitioning to a single payer system in Maine should not be overlooked. Maine migh benefit from some additional information in key areas to plan such a transition. These would include a better understanding of insurers’ and providers’ administrative costs to improve estimates of potential cost savings; access to care in Maine and the relationship to economic productivity; and the need for workforce training associated with greater demand for health care services and displacement of administrative workers.