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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This has been one of the hardest years in recent memory. Our leaders stepped up to the plate to protect Mainers, to ensure that working families stayed afloat. One of the ways Gov. Mills ensured Mainers stayed safe and healthy is by putting a moratorium on evictions.

However, the moratorium is set to run out at the end of the month, and many Mainers are still struggling. Stimulus checks have only just started to be sent, and Maine’s rental relief program only re-opened on March 1st.

That’s why we’re grateful for Rep. Grayson Lookner, who is fighting to expand the eviction moratorium!

Rep. Lookner’s bill would prevent any evictions until 90 days after the expiration of the public health emergency declared by Gov. Mills. This would ensure that, as long as the state of Maine is under a public health emergency, no Mainer will be forced out of their home.

We can’t afford to risk families losing their homes just as we’re starting to heal. This bill will give Mainers the time to get back on their feet while remaining safe and secure in their homes. Thank you, Rep. Lookner, for your leadership!

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© 2019 Mainers for Working Famililes
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