Les Fossel Refuses to Answer Question on Rate Hike Bill

Local Business Owner Rebuffed at Town Hall

At a Maine People's Alliance candidate town hall last week in Damariscotta, Representative and State Senate candidate Les Fossel refused to answer a local small business owner when she asked if he voted for LD 1333 (now Public Law 90), the health insurance rate hike bill, and if he still supports it.

Kelsy Hartley, President of Hartley Marine Services, told Fossel that her rates have gone up 23% under the new law, making things difficult for her business, which runs three tugs out of Boothbay. But when she asked if he supported the bill he refused to answer, saying that he wouldn't respond because she had called it "the rate hike increase."

"I can understand why Les Fossel doesn't want to talk about the fact that he voted for this bill, considering the devastating effect it's had on small businesses," said Maine People's Alliance Communications Director Mike Tipping. "Midcoast businesses are hardly alone in seeing their premiums spike; it’s the same story across the state. Fossel supported the insurance companies and sold out local businesses on this one. If he won't face his constituents at town halls, he's going to have to face them at the ballot box."

90 percent of small businesses in Maine that have health insurance have seen their rates increase so far this year, and some have seen their premiums nearly double due to provisions in the new law that allow insurers to charge much more for businesses in rural areas and with older employees.

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