President Jackson, Senate Democrats unveil the Making Health Care Work for Maine package alongside patients, seniors and advocates

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. 

“In the middle of a once-in-lifetime pandemic, pharmaceutical companies have continued to raise the price of lifesaving medication. ‘Big Pharma’ doesn’t need a reason to jack up prescription drug prices. They do it because they can. That’s why in the Maine Legislature, we are taking things into our own hands,” said President Jackson. “Mainers deserve a health care system that works for them, not against them. And we know better than to wait for the federal government to act or for wealthy corporations to do what is right. With the Making Health Care Work for Maine package, more Maine families will get the care and lifesaving medication they need without spending their life savings.”

The Making Health Care Work for Maine package includes:  


“For years, pharmaceutical companies have kept the drug pricing process purposefully in the dark, leaving consumers with no choice but to pay up or lose out. However, in Maine, we believe that sunshine is the best disinfectant,” said Sen. Vitelli. “It’s why we’ve led the nation on drug price transparency laws. It’s a good start, but we can’t let up, especially when the people in our communities are still struggling. We believe that consumers have a right to know what they are paying for.”

“For me, a particularly hard part about caring for my patients was dealing with the high price of prescription medication. It’s hard when the only thing standing in the way of your patient’s recovery or improvement is the price of their medication,” said Sen. Claxton. “As a doctor, I worked hard to help my patients deal with the high cost of prescription drugs. Now, as a state senator, I’m working with my colleagues to get my constituents and former patients meaningful relief.”

“Too many Maine families and individuals with Type 1 diabetes were already living financially on the edge due to the outrageous cost of insulin in this country. The COVID-19 pandemic only makes things worse,” said Sen. Breen. “There’s no question that the pharmaceutical industry is in desperate need of reform, especially when it comes to 100-year old drugs like insulin. Putting an end to the insulin racket won’t happen overnight. As we work to rein in prescription drug prices both at the state and federal level, my bill is about saving lives now.”

The cost of medication is 256 percent higher in the U.S. than in at least 23 other countries. According to reports from before the COVID-19 pandemic, one in seven Mainers reported skipping treatment or care because the costs were too high.

The Legislature’s Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee will hold public hearings on all five bills in the coming weeks. 


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