2019 Maine Legislative Priorities
Victory in the fight against cancer requires bold new public policies that promote prevention and early detection of cancer, increase research, and expand access to quality, affordable health care. Lawmakers make many decisions that impact the lives of Mainers touched by cancer and their leadership is vital to defeating this disease. Please click on the link below for more information on the legislative priorities of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) in Maine in 2019.
Ensuring Access to Adequate, Affordable Health Care
- Access to Health Coverage through Medicaid: ACS CAN will work to ensure that Maine fully implements increased access to health coverage through Medicaid, as passed by voters in the November 2017 election. This law will result in nearly 70,000 low-income Mainers having access to affordable health care coverage. Nearly 34,000 of these individuals fall into the “coverage gap” – they do not qualify for Medicaid, they earn too little to receive federal tax credits for private insurance and they cannot afford health coverage in the private market. By fully implementing this law, Maine policymakers will ensure that more Mainers have access to preventive services, early detection, and cancer treatments that are affordable and accessible. ACS CAN will work to ensure that the legislature appropriates adequate, sustainable funding to fully implement the law.
- Access to Adequate, Affordable Health Coverage: ACS CAN will work to ensure that patients have health coverage that provides them adequate, affordable access to cancer preventive services, medications and providers they need. There are a range of bills being considered in 2018 to ensure patients in Maine have access to preventive services like cancer screenings and protect patients from annual and lifetime limits on benefits if federal law is changed. In addition, there are bills being considered to ensure patients have access to the medications they need during cancer treatment. Reducing the cancer burden depends on access to meaningful health coverage. ACS CAN will work to advocate for policies that ensure all Mainers have adequate, affordable health coverage.
Reducing the Toll of Tobacco
- Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Funding: ACS CAN will advocate to restore cuts made in funding for the state’s tobacco prevention and cessation program. The funding for this program comes from revenues from the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) payments, which go into the Fund for a Healthy Maine. ACS CAN will advocate in support of a larger percentage of these funds to be dedicated to public health and disease prevention programs, especially tobacco prevention and control programs, as originally intended. Comprehensive, adequately funded tobacco control programs reduce tobacco use and tobacco-related disease, resulting in reduced tobacco-related health care costs.
- Tobacco Prevention via Increased Prices of All Tobacco Products: ACS CAN will advocate for increasing the price of all tobacco products, through increasing the excise tax on cigarettes by $1.50 and equalizing the tax on all other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Currently, excise taxes on tobacco products are applied unevenly, which makes tobacco alternatives like little cigars and loose tobacco relatively cheaper and more attractive to youth, young adults, and low-income individuals. Maine has not increased its cigarette excise tax since 2005. Regular and significant increases in tobacco taxes can save lives, reduce health care costs and reduce the tax burden from smoking-caused government expenditures.
- Tobacco-Free Workplaces and Public Places: ACS CAN will defend against any attempts to weaken the state’s tobacco-free workplaces and public places laws. In addition to reducing exposure to secondhand smoke, smoke-free laws also encourage and increase smoking cessation among adults trying to quit, and reduce health care, cleaning and lost productivity costs.
Cancer Prevention and Early Detection
- Comprehensive Cancer Prevention and Screening Programs: ACS CAN will advocate to preserve funding for the Maine Breast and Cervical Health Program. This life-saving program provides breast and cervical cancer screenings to low income women age 40 – 64 who are uninsured or underinsured. ACS CAN will also work to establish funding for colorectal cancer screening, treatment and patient navigation programs.
- Skin Cancer Prevention: ACS CAN will support legislation that prohibits the use of indoor tanning devices by those under the age of 18, ensures all consumers are properly informed of their risk prior to use and requires all indoor tanning devices to be properly regulated with effective enforcement provisions in place.
- Obesity Prevention: Working with partners like the American Heart Association and Maine Public Health Association, ACS CAN will work to implement policies that promote healthy eating and active lifestyles, including quality physical education, physical activity, and nutrition policies.
Improving Quality of Life for Patients and Survivors
- Palliative Care: ACS CAN will support the implementation of the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Interdisciplinary Advisory Council that brings together state palliative care and health care experts to increase awareness, availability, and utilization of palliative care services. Palliative care is specialized medical care that focuses on providing the best possible quality of life for patients diagnosed with serious illnesses, like cancer, and their families by offering relief from pain, stress and other symptoms associated with their illness.
- Access to Pain Control: ACS CAN will work with policymakers to ensure balance in pain relief policies that allows cancer patients and survivors the opportunity to access pain relief medications when needed while also curbing the abuse and diversion of these drugs.
For more information, contact: Hilary Schneider · ACS CAN Maine Government Relations Director ·
[email protected] · 207.373.3707
ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network • www.fightcancer.org/maine •
FB/ACSCANMaine • @ACSCANMaine