Maine House OKs bill to study single-payer system

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine's Democratic-controlled House has given initial approval to a proposal to have the state examine whether to implement a universal health insurance coverage system.

The House voted 91-52 in favor of the bill Tuesday that would direct the state to contract with a consultant who would study options for establishing a single-payer system in Maine and submit a proposal to the Legislature.

Single-payer advocates have long been trying to implement the model in Maine with little success. They say a single-payer system will cut costs by streamlining the health insurance process and eliminating unnecessary paperwork.

But critics say the state should focus its resources on providing care to the elderly and the poor and question how the state could afford universal health care.

It faces further House and Senate votes.

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