STATEMENT: MECEP praises Gov. Mills’ effort to limit health care costs in wake of novel coronavirus pandemic

AUGUSTA, Maine — Garrett Martin, executive director at the Maine Center for Economic Policy, released the following statement in response to Gov. Janet Mills’ announced state action to limit health care costs related to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Cost is a major barrier for many Mainers getting the health care they need, even in the best of times. With this pandemic arriving in Maine, it’s vital that every Mainer gets the health care they need, when they need it.

“Gov. Mills’ action reduces barriers for people with insurance by ensuring free testing and immunization, once it is available, and will limit ‘surprise billing’ for Mainers who receive care from out-of-network providers in the course of testing. These are smart policies to improve access to health care as this pandemic pushes Maine into uncharted waters. MECEP urges policymakers to consider additional measures to ensure all Mainers — regardless of insurance coverage or lack thereof — can get the health care they need.

“Maine could face widespread economic fallout as a result of the pandemic. Policymakers must explore solutions to limit the damage to low- and moderate-income families who could face a loss of income from closures, reduced hours, staying home without access to paid leave, and other difficulties that may come as a result of this ongoing public health emergency.”