A bill that received unanimous support earlier in the session and was backed by many in the medical field died June 2 when Republicans, who had previously supported the measure, switched their votes to uphold a veto by fellow Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

The House voted 74-70 on June 2 against overriding the governor’s veto of LD 1222. The House and Senate had earlier voted unanimously for the bill. A two-thirds majority is needed in both the House and Senate to override a gubernatorial veto.

Locally, all Republican House members switched their votes to support LePage’s veto. Voting to uphold the governor’s veto were Republican Reps. Wesley Richardson of Warren, Dana Dow of Waldoboro, Deborah Sanderson of Chelsea, and Jonathan McKane of Newcastle.

The bill would have prohibited the inclusion of so-called “most favored nation” clauses in the participation agreements between health insurance carriers and health care service providers.

Democratic Reps. Edward Mazurek of Rockland, Chuck Kruger of Thomaston, Joan Welsh of Rockport, Andrew O’Brien of Lincolnville, and Walter Kumiega III of Deer Isle voted to override the governor’s veto.

“We are disappointed that Republican lawmakers wouldn’t stand up to the governor to do the right thing for Maine business owners,” said Rep. Emily Cain of Orono, the House Democratic leader, in a news release. “Why flip-flop now?”

The clauses force smaller independent health care providers to accept lower reimbursements for already agreed-upon service rates if the provider accepts a lower rate from another insurer, the Democratic leader noted.

“This was a good bill when it was unanimously endorsed by the committee, it was a good bill when it earned unanimous support from the House and Senate, and it remains a good bill today,” said Rep. Sharon Treat, D-Hallowell, who sponsored the bill. “I’m mystified as to why the governor and Republicans in the legislature continue to side with out-of-state insurance companies over Maine people and businesses.”

The practice is currently banned in 14 other states, she noted.

Sanderson said there will be another bill with a small language change that will be considered next year and she looks forward to supporting it.

LePage said in a news release that the bill to be considered next year will enable either a carrier or a provider to request a waiver from the Maine Superintendent of Insurance. The superintendent would have to make findings that the law was fair and not anti-competitive.