After serving in the Maine Legislature, and co-chairing the Task Force to Address the Opioid Crisis in Maine, I recognize the power that legislators have over the quality and affordability of health care across Maine. A proposal to enact financial penalties on health care companies that distribute prescription opioids would exercise the latter of these powers.

On the surface, L.D. 1362, legislation that funds opioid epidemic response efforts, seems like an agreeable action. As Mainers who care about our fellow citizens, we all agree that addiction or substance abuse prevention and treatment programs should be adequately funded.

However, funding these efforts at the expense of reliable and affordable health care would be counterproductive to nationwide efforts to reduce the cost of health care. Wholesale distributors, the companies that L.D. 1362 intends to target, provide important delivery services to nearly every health care facility in our state. They are a logistics-focused industry that distributes the products that licensed health care facilities need to operate. I am concerned that taxes on these companies could seriously impact the cost of medications and accessibility of legitimate care.

Gov. Mills has repeatedly called for no new taxes to be enacted this session, for which I commend her. I would encourage current members of the Legislature to think twice before enacting such punitive legislation aimed at prescription medications that are already costly.

Andre Cushing

Penobscot County commissioner; former Republican state senator

Newport


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