AUGUSTA – The Maine Legislature’s Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee will hold public hearings on the Making Health Care Work for Maine package at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 13. The suite of bills put forward by the Maine Senate Democrats targets outrageous health care spending, unsupported and extreme prescription drug price increases and drug price transparency.
“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 Troy Jackson, D-Allagash. “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. However, it was just the beginning. We know that pharmaceutical companies will do everything they can to protect their outrageous profits and that it’s going to take more than one set of laws to reform an out-of-control industry. It’s why 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.”
President Jackson, Senate Majority Leader Eloise Vitelli, D-Arrowsic, Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth, and Sen. Ned Claxton, D-Auburn, unveiled the health care package alongside patients, seniors and health care advocates at a press conference last month.
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 President Jackson 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 outrageous, headline-grabbing spikes in price for 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. Vitelli 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. Claxton 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. Breen 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.
Individuals interested in testifying on these proposals should sign up no later than 30 minutes prior to the start of the public hearing at www.mainelegislature.org/testimony. The link also allows individuals to submit written testimony. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Committees will not be receiving testimony at the State House complex at this time and will be conducting all meetings electronically. Public hearings can be heard via www.mainelegislature.org or live-streamed via www.youtube.com/mainestatelegislature.