AUGUSTA – Senator Chip Curry, D-Belfast, testified earlier this week in favor of the Making Health Care Work for Maine bill package at a public hearing before the Legislature’s Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee.
The suite of bills put forward by Maine Senate Democrats targets outrageous health care spending, unsupported and extreme prescription drug price increases and drug price transparency.
“Every day I hear from people in Waldo County who are making terrible, tough decisions to either pay the bills or afford their prescription drugs. In fact, the cost of medication is 256 percent higher in the U.S. than in at least 23 other countries,” said Sen. Curry. “All across Maine, working families are struggling to get by. Enough is enough. We know that the system isn’t working, and it’s time to fix it.”
The Making Health Care Work for Maine package includes:
LD 120, “An Act To Lower Health Care Costs through the Establishment of the Office of Affordable Health Care” from Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, would rein in drug costs by identifying what’s driving sky-high prices. It also seeks to limit annual health care spending.
LD 1117, “An Act To Prevent Excessive Prices for Prescription Drugs” from President Jackson would protect Mainers from price gouging. It would prohibit the headline-grabbing spikes in the price of generic medication or off-patent drugs that have been on the market for years with no new developments.
LD 686, "An Act To Increase Prescription Drug Pricing Transparency" from Sen. Eloise Vitelli, D-Arrowsic, would allow the Maine Health Data Organization to share the information they’ve collected from drug companies with the public. With this information, lawmakers could better understand prescription drug pricing and pass targeted legislation to close loopholes and rein in costs.
LD 675, “An Act To Protect Maine Consumers from Unsupported Price Increases on Prescription Medicines by Creating an Independent Review Process” from Sen. Ned Claxton, D-Auburn, would prohibit the sale of drugs whose prices have increased where there was inadequate evidence to support those increases.
LD 673, “An Act To Create the Insulin Safety Net Program” from Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth, would provide a lifeline to Mainers with diabetes, especially those who don’t have state-regulated health care plans when they need an emergency supply of insulin. Mainers with diabetes would be able to get an emergency 30-supply of insulin at their pharmacy for $35.
The bills face further action in committee.