Mainers’ Stories highlight the desperate need for solutions that address health care costs
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.
“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.
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, 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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntuv-vR3zMc.