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The working families that power our economy are navigating out-of-control housing, healthcare, childcare costs, on top of shouldering an unfair income tax burden. 

The inequity in our tax code favors the wealthiest few, and places the bulk of the pressure on folks who are doing their best to make ends meet. The Maine Legislature has passed a bill to fix this.

Currently, Maine has three income tax brackets: 5.8 percent for the lowest income bracket, 6.75 percent for the middle bracket, and 7.15 percent for the highest tax bracket. With these current brackets, Maine has one of the highest income tax rates for low-income taxpayers in the country.

The new law adds three new brackets at the top - with rates between 7 - 8%. What’s more, this bill also cuts the income taxes for average Mainers by increasing the threshold in the second and third tax brackets. The adjusted brackets would ensure that folks do not enter the second bracket until they earn more than $41,600, and do not enter the third until they earn more than $85,000.

This ensures that the wealthiest few are paying their fair share1, just like the rest of us. Thanks to the Maine lawmakers for making this change to help us all!

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It is no secret that healthcare costs in Maine are skyrocketing, and saddling working families with unmanageable financial burdens. Nearly half of all Mainers find it difficult to afford healthcare, according to a recent survey.

One of the culprits of these difficult healthcare costs is prescription drugs. Many drug companies still practice price gouging. Here in the United States, we pay more than many other countries for our prescription drugs, and a major reason for this is that our biggest drug purchaser is only just beginning to negotiate drug prices. 

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 granted Medicare, the largest national purchaser of prescription drugs, the ability to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies on the prices of certain medications. The negotiations have already begun and will take effect by 2026. These medications include:

  • Eliquis

  • Jardiance

  • Xarelto

  • Januvia

  • Farxiga

  • Entresto

  • Enbrel

  • Imbruvica

  • Stelara

  • Fiasp; Fiasp FlexTouch; Fiasp PenFill; NovoLog; NovoLog FlexPen; NovoLog PenFill

LD 1829 would prevent state-regulated health insurers from paying more for these select prescription drugs than what Medicare has negotiated. The price for each of the above medications will be set at the maximum rate that a drug can cost under Medicare, which is determined by the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. To ensure that the money these health plans and providers save is put to good use, the bill also requires that those savings must be used to reduce costs to patients. 

Should LD 1829 pass, all Mainers will be able to benefit from Medicare’s price negotiation, ensuring these commonly used and expensive medications will be accessible and affordable for everyone. It will reduce the risk of Mainers having to ration or skip these medications, leading to healthier lives, and decrease the financial burden placed on our families by price-gouging prescription drug companies. We strongly encourage the Legislature to pass this bill.

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Every person gets sick or injured at some point in their lives. When these events are unexpected, they can saddle people with medical debt that’s difficult to manage.

Nearly half of Mainers carry some amount of medical debt, and over two-thirds say they are just one major medical bill away from financial ruin. Many people have to make difficult decisions between taking care of themselves and addressing other necessary expenses like their mortgage, car payments, or even groceries.

Exacerbating the problem are debt collection practices. If a patient cannot pay off their full bill within a brief period, hospitals will sell medical debt to collections agencies, often at a lower price than the total owed. Nearly one in three Mainers were contacted by a collection agency within the past two years, with 83% saying it was because of a hospital bill. Many of those contacted aren’t given a chance to discuss a payment plan with the hospital before then. 

The Maine Legislature is taking steps to address the imposed burden of medical debt with bills like LD 2115. Introduced by Senator Mike Tipping, the bill would bar hospitals from selling medical debt to collection agencies without first offering to sell it to the consumer at the same discounted rate. 

By not immediately selling to collection agencies, patients would have the chance to pay off that debt faster and with fewer hurdles. No more being hounded by collection agencies before there is even a fair chance to pay off the bill. And no more risk of damaged credit, which hurts Mainers’ chances of buying a home or a car. 

No one should have to worry about going bankrupt to get the care they need. That’s why we call on the Legislature to pass LD 2115.

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