Health care in Maine can be summed up in one word: expensive. In 2014 Maine ranked 11th in the nation in per capita health care spending, at an average spend of $9,531 per person. That’s a 49% increase since 2000 and more than $1,500 above the national average. A survey done in 2019 suggests the majority of Mainers consider healthcare unaffordable. Suit Up Maine is proud to support the “Making Health Care Work for Maine” package of health care bills that seek to address this issue by reigning in health care spending, holding drug manufacturers accountable for unnecessary price hikes, increasing transparency in prescription drug pricing, and making an emergency supply of insulin available from pharmacies around the state. You can find out more about these bills below, as well as a few others we’re tracking.
Yours in health,
The Suit Up Maine Admin Team
THIS WEEK IN THE LEGISLATURE
Updates on bills we’re tracking in our Legislature Roundup.
Making Health Care Work for Maine. Maine legislators are sponsoring five bills that seek to address the rising cost of health care, prescription drug affordability, and drug pricing transparency. Called “Making Health Care Work for More Mainers,” this package will have a hearing Tuesday, April 13 and legislators need to hear your health care story! The package includes bills to:
- Reign in health care spending. LD 120 would establish an independent, nonpartisan legislative office charged with creating evidence-based solutions to address the rising cost of health care and limit the amount of annual cost increases. Learn more and find out how to testify.
- Provide emergency access to insulin. LD 673 would allow Mainers with diabetes who either don’t have health insurance, don’t have a prescription, or can’t afford the cost of their insulin to get an emergency 30-day supply of insulin at their local pharmacy for $35. Learn more and find out how to testify.
- Block unnecessary price increases. LD 675 would block manufacturers from arbitrarily hiking the cost of prescription drugs without a legitimate reason. Learn more and find out how to testify.
- Increase transparency for pharmaceutical companies. LD 686 would increase transparency in drug pricing by requiring the Maine Health Data Organization to publicly post information they’ve collected from drug manufacturers about plans for price increases each year. Learn more and find out how to testify.
- End to pharmaceutical price gouging. LD 117 would block pharmaceutical industry price gouging by setting a threshold for maximum price increases for common generic and off-patent prescription drugs. Learn more and find out how to testify.
Supporting housing programs and stabilizing property taxes.LD 1337 would address Maine’s housing crisis by encouraging owners of homes that stand vacant for half the year to put those homes to use for housing, while raising millions of dollars to fund housing programs and stabilize property taxes for Maine residents. Legislators will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, April 14 and need to hear from you! Learn more and find out how to testify.
Removing barriers to health care for all Mainers. LD 718 would expand health care coverage to more Mainers with low incomes by extending MaineCare and Children’s Health Insurance Program coverage to noncitizen residents who are ineligible for coverage under the federal health programs, regardless of their immigration status, restoring benefits that were stripped during the LePage administration. Legislators will hold a public hearing on Thursday, April 15 and need to hear from you! Learn more and find out how to testify.
Expanding recovery centers in Maine. LD 488 would create Recovery Community Centers (RCCs) in the 7 Maine counties that currently don’t have one. RCCs are independent nonprofits led by people in recovery who offer peer-based recovery services, public education and policy advocacy. Maine currently has 13 RCCs in nine counties, which served more than 55,000 people in recovery last year. The bill had a public hearing on Monday, but you can still submit testimony in support! Learn more and find out how to submit testimony.
On our website you’ll also find:
- Maine Legislature Roundup: A legislative tracker for the current session.
- Actions: Calls to action on a range of issues.
- Letter to the Editor Guide: Tips on writing LTEs and a list of Maine newspapers that accept them.
- Statements, Op-Eds, and Testimony: Legislative testimony, guest editorials, and statements from our admin team.
- Top Events: A list of upcoming progressive events across the state.
- Guides & Explainers: Resources on complex topics.
- Civic Dashboard: Contact info for your elected officials, tutorials on the legislative process, and more.
Suit Up Maine is an independent, all-volunteer grassroots progressive group that seeks to build a more informed and engaged electorate in Maine. Founded in 2016, Suit Up Maine is run by and for Mainers, and is not engaged in fundraising of any kind. Representing thousands of constituents across Maine’s 16 counties, Suit Up Maine raises awareness of and advocates for state and federal policies and legislation that promote equity and equality in civil rights, social justice, health care, the environment, education, the economy, and other areas that affect the lives of all people. Suit Up Maine is beholden to issues and action, not parties or politicians.
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