The Maine House overwhelmingly approved two bills this week that would add two new mandates on what health insurers must cover.

The House voted 135-11 on March 24 to approve LD 20, which would require health insurers to cover the costs of prosthetics with microprocessors. Current state law mandates coverage for prosthetics and this would expand it to include those with microprocessors.

Also on March 24, the House voted 102-41 to approve LD 425, which would require health insurers to cover early childhood intervention services. Both bills had received the backing of the Legislature’s Insurance and Financial Services Committee.

All but two local legislators voted for both mandates. The two opponents were Republican Reps. Wes Richardson of Warren and Jonathan McKane of Newcastle.

Rep. Edward Mazurek, D-Rockland, said he supported both bills because they would better serve the public. He cited specifically the one to provide care for children such as physical therapy, speech language care and clinical social worker services.

The Senate has yet to vote on the bills, which if approved would take effect Jan. 1, 2011.

Richardson said he voted against the mandates, just as he has on all but one of the mandates that have come before the Legislature this session.

“Each time we pass a mandate the cost of insurance goes up $15 to $25 a month,” Richardson said. “People drop out because of the high cost of insurance and the price for everyone else goes up.”

The one mandate he said he supported this session was to require insurers to cover services for people with autism.

State Sen. Christopher Rector, R-Thomaston, said while he has not made a final decision on how he will vote when the two mandate bills come before the Senate, he also generally opposes them because they would add to the cost of insurance.

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