Putting the “international” in International Jetport

Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight the GOP dips into Maine’s “high risk pool”; the Bostonians are coming; and you’ll soon be able to fly to Halifax.

What we’re talking about

Maine might shape the GOP’s bid to replace Obamacare — Maine’s experiment with “high-risk pools” might be poised to play a big role in the Republican party’s next push to replace the Affordable Care Act. BDN’s Jackie Farwell unpacks what these pools are and how they’ve worked here:

High-risk pools lump the sickest, or “highest risk” people into a “pool” and use tax dollars or other funds to help cover their costs. The theory is that this encourages insurers to sell plans to sick people — typically those with pre-existing medical conditions — rather than just denying them….

Maine’s high-risk pool ran for only 18 months before the ACA superseded it. Pinpointing how policy changes like this affect the already complicated health insurance market is difficult to begin with, and with fewer than two years of data to examine, it’s even harder. Plus, the state law included many other health reforms that muddy the waters even more….

High-risk pools can work in theory, but only if they’re properly funded, said Mitchell Stein, a health policy expert who worked for the advocacy group Consumers for Affordable Health Care when Maine passed PL 90. They usually aren’t and historically have failed, leaving people with pre-existing conditions facing unaffordable premiums, he said. “It all comes down to money, as it usually does,” Stein said.

International once more — As of June 30, there will again be truth to the “international” in Portland International Jetport. That’s when Elite Airways will begin offering direct flights between Portland and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Tickets to fly between the two coastal cities will start at $169 according to the airway, and provide a faster option for those who don’t fancy the nine-plus hour drive or combined drive and ferry ride.

Mr. LePage goes to Washington — The governor tried to play dealmaker in the Republican Party’s latest health care reform efforts during his trip to Washington, D.C this week, BDN’s Michael Shepherd reports. LePage appeared on Fox News Tuesday to amplify concerns about protections for people with pre-existing conditions that threaten to sink the latest attempt to replace Obamacare within the Republican caucus. He also met with key lawmakers on in the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which helped sink the last attempt to change the law.

Is Portland the new Boston? — Judging by the Massachusetts plates around town, and a study by real estate website Redfin, the answer is a resounding “yes.” According to a recent migration report by Redfin, Portland was the top search by Bostonians looking to purchase a home outside the Commonwealth. Of the 8.4 percent of restless Bostonians looking to move, the biggest contingent has their sights set on the Forest City. — Kathleen Pierce

Power out in part of downtown —  Parts of Bayside and the downtown, roughly between Cumberland Avenue and Marginal Way to the north and south and Elm Street and Forest Avenue to the east and west, were without electricity Wednesday after a tractor-trailer struck a telephone pole near the corner of Preble and Oxford streets, knocking down power lines. The city said around 1:30 p.m. that it might take five to six hours to restore power. The affected area includes several social and city service facilities.

Tweet of the day

Good news from the City of Portland:

The Big Idea

The New Suburban Crisis” — Once considered a picture of the American dream, the economic advantages of living in the suburbs have nearly disappeared, Richard Florida writes for City Lab.

Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Jake Bleiberg at jbleiberg@bangordailynews.com, or tweet @JZBleiberg.

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