Pair of Maine senators aim to lower healthcare costs

Published: Feb. 14, 2022 at 2:48 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 14, 2022 at 2:55 PM EST
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - A pair of Maine Senate Democrats held a press conference Monday to discuss two proposed bills aimed at lowering healthcare costs for Mainers.

Senate President Troy Jackson led off with LD 1954, “An Act to Ensure Access to Prescription Contraceptives.”

He says he wants to make sure all state-regulated healthcare plans cover all prescription contraceptive medications approved by the FDA, not just a select few.

Jackson says some Mainers are not using their preferred method of contraceptives due to costs.

Then, Sen. Ned Claxton, D-Androscoggin, introduced his bill, LD 1636, “An Act to Reduce Prescription Drug Costs by Using International Pricing.”

Claxton, a former family physician, says the cost of prescriptions was a barrier for many of his middle-class patients.

He argues his bill would stand up to legal challenges because it only applies to Maine and does not involve interstate commerce.

“The price patients are expected to pay for prescription medication the United States is staggering, especially when doing a quick comparison with the prices of the same medications on the other side of the Canada Border. Does it make any sense that the US drug will, on average, cost twice what that drug will cost on the other side of the St. John’s River?” said Claxton.

“This is pharma’s go-to move every time, to say that things are unconstitutional. They’re fighting for the greed of their shareholders, and we’re fighting to try and help people in the state of Maine get the prescriptions that they have to have,” said Jackson.

Both pieces of legislation face a long road ahead.

They still need to go through public hearings and work sessions before they could come up for a vote on the floor.

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