By Associated Press - Sunday, February 17, 2019

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - A bill to enshrine former President Obama’s health coverage protections into Maine law has passed a legislative committee.

The Legislature’s health coverage, insurance and financial services committee Thursday voted 10-3 to endorse the patient protection bill backed by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills.

The bill would require insurance companies to follow several patient protections outlined in Obama’s health law, which a federal district court judge ruled against in December.

Mills’ policy adviser Bethany Beausang said the legislation is needed in case of the “unlikely” scenario that the ruling is upheld.

Maine law already has some patient protections, such as a ban on limiting or denying coverage because of an individual’s pre-existing conditions.

Maine’s biggest insurers didn’t take a position on the bill but testified it could raise insurance costs as written.

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