(Augusta, ME) – Today, a new report released by Maine Consumers for Affordable Health Care (MCAHC) and West Health Institute found that nearly 200,000 Maine families are not seeking medical treatment or filling their prescriptions due to cost. The report comes from a poll that queried 4,200 likely voters from Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Montana and North Carolina, with 600 likely voters surveyed from each state.The findings in Maine reveal that nearly 200,000 (18%) Mainers report they or their family members did not seek treatment for a health problem in the last year due to cost concerns, while roughly 219,000 (20%) said they could not afford medications prescribed by their doctors. These findings paint a grim picture of the devastating impacts of unaffordable and inaccessible healthcare with another 100,000 (10%) Mainers reporting they have experienced the death of a friend or family member in the last five years because they could not afford necessary treatment.

“Our Consumer Assistance HelpLine staff talk with Mainers every day who are struggling to access and pay for the health care they need.  These findings verify what we know and hear everyday – that healthcare is too expensive for many in Maine. While some steps have been taken to address rising costs, much more needs to be done to improve affordability to make sure that every person Maine can access the quality health care and medicine they need, when they need it,” said Ann Woloson, Executive Director of Maine Consumers for Affordable Health Care.

According to the survey, healthcare costs are going up for over 3 out of 4 Maine families and at the same time roughly 66,000 Maine families have lost insurance coverage due to the economic shutdown brought on by the pandemic.

Additionally, the poll found that over half (57%) of likely voters would prefer a public official who prioritizes reducing healthcare costs and lowering prescription drug prices over cutting taxes or deregulation (32%).

“The COVID-19 pandemic has only heightened people’s concerns over the high cost of healthcare and has put the issue squarely on the ballot,” said Tim Lash, Chief Strategy Officer at West Health Institute. “For decades politicians have promised to lower costs, but these have largely been broken promises. People are frustrated and worried, and more importantly, they are getting sicker and even dying. I think this sentiment and the real-life consequences they’re experiencing from a high-priced healthcare system will color whom they vote for in the next election.”


The findings are from a multi-channel survey of 4,200 likely general election voters. Six hundred interviews were conducted in the following states between August 20 – 30, 2020: Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Montana, and North Carolina. Interviews were conducted by live telephone and via web-based panel. Interviews conducted via web-based panel were matched back to a corresponding voter file. The confidence interval for the survey at 95% confidence interval overall is +/- 1.5%, and +/- 4% within each state.

written by of Consumers for Affordable Healthcare