On May 11, Consumers for Affordable Health Care (CAHC), a nonprofit focused on helping Mainers access health insurance and care, released the results of a survey focused on the affordability and accessibility of health care in Maine: Views of Maine Voters on Health Care Affordability. The survey, conducted by Digital Research, asked 500 Mainers about the effects of health care costs on their finances, their experiences finding health insurance and getting the care they need, and much more.

Key findings include:

  • Most Mainers believe that just one major medical event or illness could cause a financial disaster.
  • Nearly all surveyed (89%) Mainers believe it is highly important that everyone in the state has access to comprehensive health insurance.
  • One out of four Mainers with commercial insurance had a medical claim denied in the past two years.
  • More than four out of ten Mainers have medical debt in their household.
  • More than one in three Mainers skipped or delayed going to the doctor when they were sick due to costs.
  • One in four Mainers cut pills in half, skipped doses of a mediation, or delayed or did not fill a prescription due to cost.

These results are disturbing, but not entirely surprising. We regularly hear—from our supporters, our families, friends, and neighbors—about Mainers’ struggles to access and afford health care. We also experience these struggles. As Maine AllCare volunteer Michael Bacon notes in a recent letter to the editor, this survey begins to put numbers to what we know—our health care system costs too much, is overly complex and difficult to navigate, and leaves many people out.

We need fundamental change.