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Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services Executive Director Malory Shaughnessy reminded the committee that it was the ACA that offered the first protections for people with behavioral health illnesses. “Prior to this point, people with behavioral health illnesses could be discriminated against legally and be barred from having coverage in health plans,” she says.
The Health Coverage, Insurance, and Financial Services Committee on Tuesday considered a bill that would codify consumer protections under the Affordable Care Act into state law.
The goal is to protect Mainers from future efforts to dismantle the ACA. But some insurance providers are concerned that the bill would only protect access, and not affordability.
The bill was sparked by attempts over the past several years to undermine the ACA — most recently, a federal court ruling in Texas last December that found the law to be unconstitutional. The ACA is still in effect while that case is under appeal. But as a safeguard, Democratic leaders in the Maine Legislature have introduced an emergency bill to put ACA protections into state law.