Patients, seniors and advocates voice support for Making Health Care Work for Maine

AUGUSTA –  Today, Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, Senate Majority Leader Eloise Vitelli, D-Arrowsic, Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth, and Sen. Ned Claxton, D-Auburn, joined patients, health care providers and advocates to unveil the Making Health Care Work for Maine package. The suite of bills targets outrageous health care spending, unsupported and extreme prescription drug prices, and price transparency. 

Maine patients, parents, seniors and health care advocates released the following statements in support of the package:

“No mother should have to worry if the life of her bright, loving and curious child will be cut short because the price of their medication spikes overnight or they simply can’t afford it one month. I’m here today to speak out and share my family’s story with the hopes that we can change the status quo,” said Sabrina Burbeck of Old Town, whose son had Type 1 Diabetes. “The Making Health Care Work for Maine package is about reining in health care costs while providing immediate access to lifesaving medication. It’s about making health care work for families like mine.”

“My daughter Marissa was 17 years old when she was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, which for those of you who are unfamiliar with it, is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. We have over the years struggled to access affordable coverage that would meet our health care needs and provide our daughter with the medication she needs not only to be healthy but to thrive. Keeping her healthy has not been easy, and we constantly worry what her future holds if she can’t access the medicine and care she needs,” said Susan Kinney of Belgrade.

“In 2017, 31% of Maine residents stopped taking medication as prescribed due to cost, yet drug companies make billions in profits from older adults and hardworking Americans each year,” said Lori Parham, AARP Maine State Director. “In these difficult times when Mainers are in need of financial relief, ensuring access to affordable prescription drugs should be a priority for the Maine Legislature. AARP Maine will continue to fight for solutions that ensure drug prices are fair and affordable. On behalf of our more than 200,000 members in the state, AARP Maine strongly supports this package of prescription drug bills, which will provide additional relief for older Mainers and their families.”

“This package of bills is strategic in its comprehensive approach to address concerns many Mainers have about rising prescription drug costs. Taking steps to clearly identify and help consumers understand cost drivers, prevent price gouging and reduce what we pay for life-saving medicine shows that the Senate President and Senate Democrats are serious about controlling prescription drug costs,” said Ann Woloson, Executive Director, Consumers for Affordable Health Care.

“These bills have the potential to produce real results for Mainers with smart, data-driven approaches to reducing health care costs,” said James Myall of the Maine Center for Economic Policy. “The Legislature should enact these measures as part of an ongoing commitment to expanding access to affordable health care for all Mainers.”

“We have worked with Mainers across the state for years to pass policy and legislation to make health care more affordable and accessible to all Mainers. There are a number of bills this session that seek to do just that, including the ‘Making Health Care Work for ME’ legislative package. These bills would increase transparency in prescription drug pricing, hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for unjustified price increases, and seek to reign in rising health care costs that too often leave Maine families choosing between health care and housing or food. And legislation to provide emergency access to insulin could, quite literally, be a lifesaver.” – Kelli Whitlock Burton, Co-leader, Suit Up Maine

“No one should choose between food or housing and purchasing the medications they need to stay alive and thrive. I’ve made those choices and with a rare disease, I need my medications to function. For too long the cost of health care is a recycled concern of Mainers heard every election cycle.  The Maine legislature, led by Senator Jackson, is intent on creating solutions to the problems faced by Maine people and has introduced the Making Health Care Work for ME package. MFAL is proud to support these bills that protect the people from Big Pharma price gouging and work to ensure that Mainers receive the life-saving prescription drugs we need,” said Marie Louise Follayttar, Director Mainers for Accountable Leadership.


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