Smart Solutions For Healthy Communities, a coalition led by Consumers For Affordable Health Care and Mainers For Working Families, announced support for the Making Health Care Work for Maine package of bills currently under consideration by the Maine legislature.

The bill package addresses ever-increasing health care costs, prescription drug price gouging, and creates an insulin safety net program, and makes drug pricing more transparent.

Sign here to tell your legislators to support Making Health Care Work for Maine.

“Working families, seniors, and young people struggle with huge deductibles with limited coverage and increasing out-of-pocket costs for medication that keeps them alive and healthy. This health care package will help to address dangerous flaws in our healthcare system, and ensure that Mainers have access to affordable, quality care,” said Evan LeBrun, executive director of Mainers For Working Families.

“We hear from people every day who are struggling with the cost of health care and who struggle to access the health care and prescription drugs they need. The Making Health Care Work for Maine package takes a comprehensive approach to address concerns Mainers have about rising costs,” said Ann Woloson, executive director of Consumers for Affordable Health Care.

Sign here to show your support for comprehensive and affordable healthcare services.

The public hearing on Tuesday drew broad support from health care advocates and Mainers all over the state.

Bonnie from Appleton spoke of her son, who was diagnosed with severe Crohn’s Disease and rheumatoid arthritis. His Remicade infusions, which he would die without, cost roughly $78,000 before insurance.

“When my son was first diagnosed I was working 4 jobs and had health insurance through my employer, but the coverage was not good… Each and every year, we have had to pay over $10,000 or more toward the deductibles and copays, and have hit the maximums every year,” Bonnie said. “We’re going to be dealing with this medical debt for the rest of our lives.”

Leo from Waterville gives his testimony at public hearing

Leo from Waterville, who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at two and a half, spoke about what it was like to live with the autoimmune disease.

“I’m only 14, and there’s a lot about diabetes that I don’t have to worry about yet, but I know I will when I’m older,” he said.

It’s not my fault that I have Type 1 Diabetes, and it’s not right for companies to take advantage of me. My life depends on insulin.”

Kate from Portland spoke on behalf of Consumers for Affordable Healthcare and her son, Nate.

“As a mother of a child with Type 1 Diabetes whose life depends on the availability of injectable insulin. … Insulin is incredibly expensive,” she said. “Of the 25 costliest drugs in the most recent report of the Maine Health Data Organization, eight are insulin products.”

The public hearing can be viewed at

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Nearly one in five Mainers has gone without care or prescribed medication due to cost, and the pandemic has only made it worse. Now, we have a chance to make sure every Mainer can get the care they need.

The Legislature’s Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee will hold public hearings on Tuesday, April 13 at 10:00 AM on the “Making Health Care Work for Maine” package, a series of bills designed to strengthen the state’s healthcare system.

Senate President Troy Jackson, Senate Majority Leader Eloise Vitelli, Sen. Cathy Breen, and Sen. Ned Claxton unveiled the health care package alongside patients, seniors, and health care advocates at a press conference last month.

Bills in the package include:

  • LD 120, “An Act To Lower Health Care Costs through the Establishment of the Office of Affordable Health Care": This bill creates an independent, nonpartisan Office of Affordable Health Care, which would use data from the Maine Health Data Organization and the Maine Quality Forum to make policy recommendations on methods to make high-quality healthcare affordable for Mainers.

  • LD 675, "An Act To Protect Maine Consumers from Unsupported Price Increases on Prescription Medicines by Creating an Independent Review Process": This bill makes prescription drug manufacturers subject to fines if they increase their drug prices without providing adequate clinical evidence to support it.

  • LD 673, "An Act To Create the Insulin Safety Net Program": This bill would provide access to an emergency 30-day supply of insulin to diabetic patients without insurance for a maximum of $35.

  • LD 686, "An Act To Increase Prescription Drug Pricing Transparency”: This bill requires the Maine Health Data Organization to produce and post on its public website a list of drug families to which manufacturers have made substantial price increases. This report would be updated annually.

  • LD 1117, “An Act To Prevent Excessive Prices for Prescription Drugs”: This bill prohibits drug companies from excessive price increases for generic and off-patent prescription drugs sold in Maine.

“It’s hard enough for working families and seniors to make ends meet in ordinary times, let alone in a global pandemic. Sky-high prescription drug prices only make things worse,” said Senate President Jackson. “Two years ago, my colleagues and I took on ‘Big Pharma’ and passed a comprehensive prescription drug reform package to lower prices for Maine people...we’ve introduced the Making Health Care Work for Maine package to continue what we started. Maine people deserve relief, and we won’t stop until we deliver.”

Individuals are invited to submit written or live, virtual testimony on these bills. Interested parties in need of accommodation to participate in the public hearing should contact the Legislative Information Office as soon as possible at 207-287-1692 or Public hearings can be heard on the Maine Legislature’s website or live-streamed on Youtube.

Mainers For Working Families applauds Senators Jackson, Vitelli, Breen, and Claxton for their initiative on the Making Health Care Work for Maine package and their commitment to providing every Mainer with quality, comprehensive, affordable healthcare.

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Maine is facing an affordable housing crisis. With some of the oldest housing stock in the United States, homeowners can face crippling energy and maintenance costs.

Renters don’t have it any easier. There is a shortage of rental homes and apartments that are affordable for many middle-to-low income households. According to the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition, one in five renters pay more than half their income toward their rent.

State legislators are coming together with a slate of bills to help solve this crisis. These pieces of legislation will:

Affordable housing is paramount when it comes to ensuring the continued health of our communities. And with so many families having lost income in the last year due to the pandemic, we must do everything we can to ensure everyone has a roof over their heads that is both safe and affordable.

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© 2019 Mainers for Working Famililes