AUGUSTA — The Legislature’s Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee will hold public hearings on Legislative Democrats’ Patients First health care package on Tuesday at 1:00 p.m.
The Patients First health care package includes four proposals – sponsored by President Jackson, Speaker Gideon and Sen. Ned Claxton, D-Auburn – that advocate for Maine health consumers, protect against abusive and surprise billing practices, and limits the cost of insulin for some Mainers.
Patients First Bill Overview:
- LD 2110, An Act to Lower Health Care Costs (Pres. Jackson): The bill will allow Maine to take control of growing health care costs in a complicated health care system by creating the Maine Commission on Affordable Health Care. The Commission will hold all the players in the health care system accountable and establish a process for effective, data-driven reforms. Massachusetts’ commission saved patients and businesses $7.2 billion.
- LD 2096, “An Act To Save Lives by Capping the Out-of-pocket Cost of Certain Medications” (Speaker Gideon): This legislation caps the amount patients in the individual and small group markets pay for life-saving insulin at $100. The average cost of insulin for treating type 1 diabetes in the United States nearly doubled over a five-year period, rising from $2,864 to $5,705 per person, per year.
- LD 2111, “An Act to Establish Patient Protections in Billing for Health Care” (Sen. Claxton): This bill would protect patients from abusive billing practices and unnecessary patient fees. It aims to protect patients from late medical bills, promote transparent billing, and provide cost information to patients before they receive care. Almost 70 percent of Americans are worried about unexpected medical bills.
- LD 2105, “An Act To Protect Consumers from Surprise Emergency Medical Bills” (Speaker Gideon): It protects patients from high-cost bills from out-of-network providers when they never had an opportunity to choose a cheaper option. A recent study shows that one in five inpatient emergency department cases may lead to surprise bills.
Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, and Legislative Democrats unveiled these major health care reform bills alongside patients, health care advocates and providers at a press conference earlier this month.
Members of the public are encouraged to attend the public hearings and submit testimony. Anyone unable to attend can submit written testimony online or email the committee clerk at HCIFS@legislature.maine.gov.