Senate fails to override LePage veto of Gratwick health care bill

Posted: April 18, 2018 | Senator Gratwick

AUGUSTA — The Maine Senate failed to override Gov. LePage’s veto of legislation from Sen. Geoff Gratwick, D-Bangor, on Wednesday. LD 1032, “An Act To Ensure Protection and Health Insurance of Patients” sought to limit bureaucracy within insurance companies that delay critical medical care, specifically related to prior authorization. The final vote was 21-14.

“We cannot afford to be playing games with the health care needs of Maine people,” said Sen. Gratwick. “This was a simple bill that sought to remove one critical barrier to timely health care. I am disappointed that lawmakers could not come together and get the two-thirds necessary to override this nonsensical veto.”

Prior authorization is a practice in which physicians are required to check with insurance companies before prescribing or recommending treatment options. According to the American Medical Association, health insurance companies employ tactics like prior authorization to reduce costs. However, this can adversely affect patient care and cause unnecessary delays. In fact, in a 2017 Physician Prior Authorization Survey, 84 percent of physicians surveyed cited the practice as a high or extremely high burden on themselves and office staff. Fifty-four percent of physicians surveyed said that the practice often or always leads to a delay in care.

The governor has vetoed a number of important health care bills this session. Sen. Gratwick is committed to improving access to quality health care in Maine.