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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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Day two of David Pecker testimony wraps in NY Trump trial; Supreme Court hears arguments on Idaho's near-total abortion ban; ND sees a flurry of campaigning among Native candidates; and NH lags behind other states in restricting firearms at polling sites.

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The Senate moves forward with a foreign aid package. A North Carolina judge overturns an aged law penalizing released felons. And child protection groups call a Texas immigration policy traumatic for kids.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

ME survey shows support for transparent hospital prices, facility fee limits

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Friday, February 23, 2024   

A new survey reveals most Mainers support policies requiring medical providers to disclose their facility fees before they receive treatment.

The fees can range from $15 to thousands of dollars and are a growing concern for the 40% of Mainers who struggle with medical debt.

Ann Woloson, executive director of Consumers for Affordable Health Care, said such fees are the subject of an increasing number of calls to her organization's helpline.

"Not understanding what they are, why they're being charged for them," Woloson observed. "Especially if it's off a hospital campus in a provider's office, or for other services -- like telehealth, for example."

Woloson emphasized while it is important for Maine's hospitals to stay open, a majority of Mainers would support a law banning facility fees for care outside a hospital.

Maine lawmakers have taken steps to improve health care affordability, including expanding Medicaid coverage and helping ensure residents who qualify for government subsidies through CoverME.gov receive them. But half of those surveyed said they find it increasingly difficult to afford standard care, including those residents with employer-backed medical insurance.

Woloson argued health care is becoming unsustainable.

"Health insurance premiums become more expensive, consumers are expected to take on more cost-sharing," Woloson pointed out. "While efforts to improve access to coverage are so incredibly important, we believe more needs to be done to address rising costs."

Maine lawmakers are considering a bill to ensure the state's hospitals provide more free care, as required by their nonprofit status, and make care easier to access. Residents earning up to 200% of the federal poverty line would qualify.

Another bill would target medical debt by protecting consumers from predatory medical credit cards.

Disclosure: Consumers for Affordable Healthcare contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, and Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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