2019 Maine Session Summary

July 29, 2019

Reducing the Toll of Tobacco
Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Funding: ACS CAN advocated to secure increased funding for evidence-based, statewide tobacco use prevention and cessation programs, increasing funding from $4.8 million to $12.35 million in FY 20 and $14.65 million in FY 21. This funding increase was obtained through the biennial budget bill that was signed into law, as well as the tobacco tax equalization bill.
Tobacco Taxes: ACS CAN worked to close tobacco tax loopholes so that on January 2, 2020, all non-cigarette tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, and roll-your-own tobacco, will be taxed at the same relative tax rate as the $2.00 per pack tax on cigarettes. The law ensures tax parity for all tobacco products going forward by requiring the tax on other tobacco products be raised to an equivalent rate if the state increases the tax on cigarettes. Increasing the price of tobacco products through regular and significant tobacco tax increases helps to keep kids from starting to use tobacco and helps adults quit. A portion of the revenue will be used to fund evidence-based tobacco prevention and cessation efforts, as described above. While the original bill also included an increase in the cigarette excise tax, the legislature removed this provision, focusing solely on closing the tax loophole. ACS CAN will continue to advocate for a long-overdue increase in the cigarette excise tax.

Tobacco-Free Workplaces and Public Places: ACS CAN worked to defeat two bills that would have weakened the state smoke-free law by allowing the proliferation of cigar bars and allowing smoking in outdoor areas of eating establishments.

Access to Tobacco Cessation: ACS CAN successfully advocated to prohibit insurers from charging tobacco users higher premiums for private health insurance coverage if the tobacco user is enrolled in an FDA-approved cessation program. This provision will ensure that tobacco users who are utilizing evidence-based strategies to quit are not priced out of health coverage that provides them with access to tobacco cessation, as well as comprehensive health coverage.

Flavored Tobacco Products: ACS CAN advocated in support of legislation to prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products. As a result of extreme opposition from the tobacco industry and retailer community, the bill failed to be passed by the legislature. ACS CAN is committed to a multi-year campaign and will continue to educate and advocate for this prohibition for a future legislative session.

Cancer Prevention and Early Detection
• Colorectal Cancer: ACS CAN successfully advocated to pass legislation that updates an existing law requiring insurance coverage for colorectal cancer screening in accordance with recent changes to clinical guidelines based on new evidence. The law goes into effect with all private insurance policies issued in Maine on or after January 1, 2020. In practice, this law will provide coverage for colorectal cancer screening beginning at age 45 for average risk patients and requires coverage for all recommended screening tests.
Breast and Cervical Cancer: ACS CAN advocated to maintain funding of $317,082 for the Maine Breast and Cervical Health Program, the state breast and cervical cancer screening and early detection program for low-income uninsured and underinsured women administered by the Maine CDC.
2019 Maine Session Summary
2019 Maine Session Summary

Ensuring Access to Quality Care
Medicaid: ACS CAN worked with partners to advocate in support of adequate, sustainable funding to
fully implement increased access to health coverage through Medicaid for nearly 70,000 low-income
Mainers, as passed by voters in the November 2017 election. ACS CAN also worked with partners to
successfully defeat proposals that would have put in place significant barriers to low-income Mainers
having access to cancer prevention, early detection and treatment through Medicaid.
Patient Protections: ACS CAN played an instrumental role in advocating in support of a law to ensure Mainers
have access to critical patient protections that are currently guaranteed under the Affordable Care Act even if
action is taken at the federal level to restrict these protections. The law, which went into effect on March 19,
2019, ensures that Mainers who have been diagnosed with cancer will not be denied coverage and will not
be subject to annual and lifetime limits or increased premiums. It also ensures all Mainers have access to
adequate coverage and children under age 26 can be covered under their parent’s health plan.
Medication Access: ACS CAN advocated for legislation to standardize prior authorization, step therapy
and peer medical review practices used by private health insurers and allow for exceptions from these
practices where appropriate.

Biosimilar Substitutions: ACS CAN successfully advocated for legislation to codify state laws regarding
biosimilars with existing federal law to protect the interests and well-being of cancer patients and cancer

Skin Cancer Prevention
Indoor Tanning Devices: ACS CAN advocated to successfully pass a state law to prohibit the use of indoor
tanning devices by those under the age of 18, with no exceptions, as well as ensure all consumers are
properly informed of their risk prior to use and require all indoor tanning devices to be properly
regulated with effective enforcement provisions in place. The law goes into effect on September 19,
Sunscreen Access in Schools: ACS CAN advocated in support of a law that allows for students who attend
public schools to possess and use an FDA-approved sunscreen on school grounds without a doctor’s
note. The law goes into effect on September 19, 2019.

Healthy Eating and Active Living Environments (HEALE)
Obesity Prevention Funding: ACS CAN advocated in support of increased funding for obesity prevention
efforts. The legislation failed to gain the support needed to advance out of the Health and Human
Services Committee. ACS CAN is committed to working to educate lawmakers and garner the necessary
support to adequately fund obesity prevention efforts statewide.
PE in Schools: ACS CAN advocated in support of increasing the quantity and improving the quality of
physical education in K-12 schools, supplemented by additional school-based physical activity. The bill
was defeated as a result of concerns about adequate qualified staffing available, as well as concerns
about increased testing demands. ACS CAN is committee to working with lawmakers to determine a path
forward to increasing physical education in schools, a need recognized as necessary by many
policymakers and stakeholders.

For more information, contact: Hilary Schneider, Maine Government Relations Director ACS CAN
[email protected] • (207) 373-3707
ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, empowers advocates across the
country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change, as well as legislative and regulatory
solutions, that will reduce the cancer burden.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network •