Maine votes down plan for universal home care

A nurse holding the hands of an elderly patient
The Universal In-Home Care program was defeated by voters on Tuesday. (Getty/Rawpixel)

Maine voters elected to reject a proposal to institute a universal home care program in the state.

With more than half of precincts reporting, 63% of people voted against the measure, the Portland Press Herald reported. The initiative would have been the first of its kind in the U.S. 

Home healthcare costs an average of $50,000 a year in Maine, and is not covered in full by Medicare, according (PDF) to the Maine People’s Alliance, one of the advocacy organizations backing the measure. In tandem, Maine’s population of seniors is set to rapidly expand, doubling by 2030. 

Free Webinar

Take Control of Your Escalating Claim Costs through a Comprehensive Pre-payment Hospital Bill Review Solution

Today managing high dollar claim spend is more important than ever for Health Plans, TPAs, Employers, and Reinsurers, and can pose significant financial risks. How can these costs be managed without being a constant financial drain on your company resources? Our combination of the right people and the right technology provides an approach that ensures claims are paid right, the first time. Register Now!

The Universal In-Home Care program would have been funded with a 3.8% tax on residents with gross wages over $128,400. This would have raised an estimated $123 million for a trust fund covering the care, according to the alliance.

The wealthiest 5% of Maine's residents at present pay the lowest combined state and local taxes of any group in the state, according to the group. 

RELATED: Institute for Healthcare Improvement—5 considerations for making home healthcare safer 

The measure was opposed by the state’s business community, and former Maine Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Daniel Wathen said the vote was “deeply unconstitutional in many respects,” the Press Herald reported. 

It also faced opposition from a number of provider groups, including the Maine Hospital Association and some long-term care advocates.

“It over-promises and under-delivers, while at the same time creating chaos to our economy by pushing a tax rate for many to nearly 11%,” said Dana Connors, president of the state’s Chamber of Commerce, according to the newspaper.

Suggested Articles

CVS Health has tapped a new executive to head its retail pharmacy segment.

AdventHealth has partnered with biotech firm Berg to gain insights on people that have tested positive for COVID-19 and reduce mortality rates.

Here are just a few of the ways in which COVID-19 has spurred lasting digital transformation within the healthcare industry.