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Poll: The majority of Mainers struggled to afford health care in 2021

Donna Weiner
Phelan M. Ebenhack
Associated Press
Retiree Donna Weiner shows some of the daily prescription medications that she needs and pays over $6,000 a year through a Medicare prescription drug plan at her home, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, in Longwood, Fla.

A new poll released by Consumers for Affordable Health Care finds that three in five Mainers struggled to afford health care last year.

The advocacy organization partnered with nonprofit research and consulting group Altarum to conduct the poll of more than 900 Maine adults in October.

Altarum's Elise Lowry says health care affordability problems aren't just experienced by low-income earners.

"This problem goes far up the income ladder, with those making over $100,000 per year experiencing the greatest burden, with 69% reporting health care affordability problems," she says.

Lowry says among the burdens respondents raised were being forced to skip or delay care.

"Nearly one-third of Maine adults ration their medication in some way, such as cutting pills in half, not filling a prescription or skipping a dose of medicine," she says.

Respondents ages 18 to 34 reported the most affordability problems, Lowry says, followed by those ages 35 to 54.

The executive director of Consumers for Affordable Health Care, Ann Woloson, says there are legislative proposals pending that seek to address the issue, including one bill that would charge Maine's Office of Affordable Health Care to analyze health care cost drivers and make policy recommendations.