March 24, 2013

Last divided government showed how to make deals

The last time we had divided government in Maine was 1991, and we remember what happened. State government shut down for 16 days in a dispute about workers' compensation insurance, which at the time was the most expensive in the country.

What people are less likely to notice is how well the deal struck that summer has worked. Maine's workers' compensation rates have dropped 40 percent, largely as a result of better safety and injury prevention efforts.

At the center of the reform was Maine Employers Mutual Insurance Co., a private mutual insurance company set up by the state.

Earlier this month, MEMIC made news again by deciding not to adopt a rate it was granted by the Board of Insurance,

The differences about the workers' compensation debate were bitter, but they were resolved.

As Maine's current generation of political debates heats up, it's worth remembering what can happen when everyone is forced to work together.

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