Scoring a legislative victory is no easy task. It requires fierce determination, a command of the issues, and a willingness to compromise to get things done. That’s why each year AARP recognizes elected officials who have stepped up and worked together to advance commonsense policies that help older Americans.
For 2019 in Maine, AARP is proud to announce our bipartisan class of Capitol Caregivers who fought to increase support for family caregivers and their loved ones, and our inaugural class of Rx Price Fighters who championed legislation to help lower the cost of prescription drugs.
2019 CLASS OF CAPITOL CAREGIVERS
To recognize his critical leadership in passing LD 84 and supporting family caregivers, AARP named Representative Patrick Corey (R-Windham) to the 2019 class of “Capitol Caregivers.” This bipartisan group of elected officials from 30 states, including Maine, advanced policies to bring more help to family caregivers.
“This new law will help many of the more than 181,000 family caregivers in Maine who help their spouses to remain in their homes and communities,” said Lori Parham, AARP Maine State Director. “AARP Maine applauds Rep. Corey’s efforts on behalf of Maine’s family caregivers and their loved ones.”
For Rep. Corey, this was his second attempt to pass legislation in response to the plight of constituents, John and Linda Gregoire of Windham. John has ALS, requiring 24-hour care from his wife, Linda.
In Maine, family caregivers like Linda Gregoire collectively provide unpaid care valued at about $2.2 billion annually.
The new law is just a first step to making family caregivers’ big responsibilities a little bit easier. In 2020, AARP will continue to fight for commonsense solutions to give family caregivers more support. These solutions include:
· Home and Community-Based Care: Increasing—or protecting against decreases in — the number of older adults who have access to services at home, like home care and adult day care.
· Respite Care: Increasing services that allow family caregivers to take a hard-earned break.
· Telehealth: Breaking down the barriers that prevent use of telehealth and investing in digital information and communication technologies that help family caregivers manage their own or their loved one’s health.
Rep. Corey was presented with a “Capitol Caregiver” certificate by AARP Maine in recognition of his efforts on January 21, 2020.
AARP Maine has also developed a free Maine Family Caregiver Resource Guide providing helpful state-specific resources and tools.
If you are a family caregiver, you are not alone.
- For tools and resources, go to aarp.org/caregiving.
- To share your story and connect with others, go to aarp.org/iheartcaregivers.
- To find out how AARP is fighting for you, check out aarp.org/SupportCaregivers.
- Download Prepare to Care, a free resource guide for family caregivers aarp.org/preparetocare
2019 CLASS OF RX PRICE FIGHTERS
Americans pay the highest prices for drugs in the world for the medicines they need, allowing drug companies to make billions in profits.
According to the AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) retail prices for 267 brand-name drugs commonly used by older adults increased more than twice the general inflation rate. To put this into perspective: If gasoline prices had grown at the same rate as these widely-used brand-name drugs over the past 12 years, gas would cost $8.34 per gallon at the pump today. Fortunately, elected officials from across the country have seen the impact of high drug prices and are working together to enact laws that will provide real relief to individuals.
For the first time, AARP is recognizing “Rx Price Fighters” – 23 state legislators and 2 governors from 13 states who fought for policies to lower the cost of prescription drugs.
This year, four elected officials in Maine went above and beyond to provide commonsense support for seniors and all taxpayers by championing a package of bills that will lower prices and improve accessibility to medications which thousands of Mainers need to stay healthy.
To recognize their integral leadership in passing the suite of bills, AARP named Senate President Troy Jackson (D-Allagash), Senator Eloise Vitelli (D-Sagadahoc), Senator Heather Sanborn (D-Cumberland) and Senator Robert Foley (R-York) to the 2019 class of “Rx Price Fighters.” This bipartisan group of elected officials from 13 states, including Maine, advanced policies to help people get the medicines they need.
The legislative package includes the following and while they represent an important step in the fight against Rx prices, AARP will continue to fight to lower prescription drug prices for all Mainers :
· LD 1272, “An Act To Increase Access to Low-cost Prescription Drugs,” – will set up a wholesale prescription drug importation program with approval from the US Department of Health and Human Services.
· LD 1499, “An Act To Establish the Maine Prescription Drug Affordability Board” – will create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board. This board would determine prescription drug spending targets for public entities based on a 10-year rolling average, accounting for inflation with spending reductions, and would provide methods for achieving lower prescription costs through measures such as bulk purchasing, leveraging multi-state purchasing, or negotiating specific rebate amounts.
· LD 1162, “An Act To Further Expand Drug Price Transparency” – will gather information related to the pricing of drugs all along the supply chain from manufacturers to wholesalers, pharmacy benefit managers and insurance companies.
· LD 1504, “An Act To Protect Consumers from Unfair Practices Related to Pharmacy Benefits Management” – prohibits pharmacy benefit managers from retaining rebates paid by manufacturers and requires those rebates to be passed along to the consumer or the health plan.
As a proudly non-partisan organization, AARP Maine thanks Senators Jackson, Vitelli, Sanborn and Foley for working across party lines for the people of Maine and taking a stand against Rx greed. The bills passed unanimously in the Senate and unopposed in the House.
Each Senator will be presented with an “Rx Price Fighter” certificate by AARP Maine in recognition of their efforts.
For more information about AARP’s Stop Rx Greed campaign and the latest news on this critical issue, visit http://www.aarp.org/rx