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  • Quinn Malter

Tuesday, April 13: Public Hearing on Making Health Care Work for Maine

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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