AUGUSTA – Senate President Troy Jackson, Speaker of the House Sara Gideon and legislative democrats stood together with health care advocates and providers to announce a Patients First health care package.
Last year, legislative democrats passed a suite of prescription drug reform laws. This year, democrats said they are working to build on that with a goal to create health care systems that prioritize patients over profit.
“It’s actually going to be an advocate for people across the state that have problems with their health care plan,” Senate President Troy Jackson said. “They’ll be able to call them, have somebody in their corner and actually work for them.”
The Patients First health care package includes four proposals that, Jackson said, will advocate for Maine health consumers, protect against surprise billing practices and limit the cost of insulin for some people.
Speaker of the House Sara Gideon has two bills in the proposal, including one dealing with insulin prices.
“We know there are more than 140,000 people in the state of Maine who have diabetes and find that medication unaffordable,” Gideon said.
“We need to get control of the cost of insulin so that’s what we seek to do with that bill,” she said.
Gideon said her other bill protects patients from high-cost bills from out-of-network providers when a cheaper option was not provided.
“You ought to know when you’re going to see someone out-of-network and you ought to have some clue about what it might cost you,” said Sen. Ned Claxton, M.D.
The cost of health care is increasing according to recent data. Jackson said Maine ranks 14th in health care spending per capita.
We reached out to people in the Republican Party about this topic but they were not available to talk at that time.
All four bills will go before the Legislature’s Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee for a public hearing later this month.