Veto stands on bill aimed at limiting smoker surcharges

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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Maine House has failed to override a bill to limit smoker surcharges imposed by health insurers.

The 83-64 vote fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto by Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Linda Sanborn, D-Gorham, would have capped tobacco use surcharges at 20 percent for individual and small group health plans. Supporters say tobacco users currently can end up paying as much as 49 percent more than nonsmokers with at least one carrier on the health insurance exchange.

Sanborn, a retired family physician, said the surcharges don't get smokers to quit but instead put health care out of reach for some Mainers. The bill was previously approved by unanimous consent in both chambers.

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