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Good for Big Pharma, Bad for Maine Seniors

Cuts to seniors' prescription drug help and GOP bills to repeal anti-fraud laws will hike medicine costs and lead to worse health outcomes.

It seems there is an all-out assault on prescription drug programs in Maine Governor LePage's budget as well as in bills pending before the Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee. These proposals certainly will help the bottom line of large pharmaceutical concerns, but they harm over 40,000 seniors who rely on state assistance to purchase prescription drugs, and repeal important pricing protections for consumers and taxpayers.

Its hard to believe that legislators who campaigned for strong financial oversight and against waste would support repealing a law that bans kickbacks and requires rebates be passed through to consumers, but that's exactly what Maine bill LD 1116 would do. Another bill, LD 719,will limit doctor, patient, and government access to independent information on prescription drug effectiveness, costs, and money spent on drug advertising, and make it harder to audit drug company pricing information. Read more »

The Past and Future of Maine's Anti-Poverty Efforts

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it can not save the few who are rich."

Fifty years ago today, President John F. Kennedy spoke those words in his inaugural address.

Understanding the moral and economic value to us all in lifting people out of poverty, some of the nation's and Maine's greatest achievements in public policy have been in fighting poverty: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. Maine Equal Justice does an excellent job of explaining the programs where the state has a major role to play.

It should be no surprise that – because the programs are designed that way – use of income supports and medical assistance by Maine families has increased since the global economic collapse 2 years ago. And directly or indirectly, we all benefit when our neighbors have the resources to participate in the economy and when they have access to treatment that prevents illness. Read more »