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(NECN: Amy Sinclair, Falmouth, Maine) - The debate over health care reform will take center stage tonight when President Obama addresses a joint session of Congress. At the heart of the debate: whether to include a so-called public option. It's not a new idea. The state of Maine attempted universal coverage though its Dirigo Choice plan. But, that plan is now on life support. Five years ago, daycare owner Melanie Collins found herself in a scary place, that's all too familiar to millions of American families. "We didn't have insurance at the time, we were trying to go without it and he got pneumonia." Her husband got the care he needed, but it was a wake-up call. "We were very lucky Dirigo was starting up, because we couldn't afford private insurance." In 2003, Governor Baldacci launched "Dirigo Choice," a subsidized public health care option, with a pledge to cover Maine's 128,000 uninsured by 2009 -- without raising taxes. But, six years later, fewer than 10,000 Mainers subscribe to the plan that was supposed to save money is costing the state millions. The conservative Maine Heritage Policy Center's Terran Bragdon says this is in part because of low enrollment, subscribers face huge premium increases, making the affordable option unaffordable. Last November, Maine voted overwhelmingly to repeal a new tax that had been created to bolster Dirigo and without a new funding source, the state was forced to cap enrollment in the program. But, Dirigo supporters, including the liberal Maine Center for Economic Policy, say many of the criticisms are unfair. Much like the national debate, conservatives say more choice is the solution while liberals say the public option is the answer. <em>Editors Note: NECN will have live coverage of the President's health care address on Wednesday night, September 9, on NECN and NECN.com , and all day Wednesday, we'll be taking a closer look at the health care debate. Alison King will be live on Capitol Hill, and we'll be out throughout New England to get your thoughts and reaction to the speech. If you'd like to be part of our health care roundtable here at NECN Wednesday night, send an email to <a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a> with your name, town, age, phone number and a a sentence or two on where you stand in the health care reform issue. We'll select a representative group from among those who apply. </em>