Health and health care news

PORTLAND, Maine - More than 84,000 Mainers signed up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act's online marketplace this year.

Emily Brostek of Consumers for Affordable Health Care says the number has steadily climbed from the initial 44,000 people who enrolled when the marketplace first opened in 2014. "These numbers tell me that Mainers are really looking for - and have been needing - a way to get quality, affordable coverage."

deepfruit / Flickr/Creative Commons

One of the effects of Maine’s opiate abuse crisis has been a rise in the use injectable drugs, and a related increase in cases of diseases such as hepatitis C.

AUGUSTA, Maine – Families and advocates for individuals with disabilities are upset over proposed changes in the way the state allocates services.

They’re petitioning lawmakers to intervene. It’s an unusual move, but those concerned say a new scoring system proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services is far too simplistic and would dramatically cut services for individuals who need intense support.

There’s one question that’s constantly on Cullen Ryan’s mind. He’s the father of a 19-year-old son with significant disabilities.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The American Lung Association's annual report card awards Maine an "A" for its smoke-free air, but gives the state a "D" for tobacco taxes.

The association's director of public policy in Maine, Lance Boucher, says the state should levy an additional $1.50 tax to packs of cigarettes. "It's been 11 years since we've raised the cigarette tax in Maine. We used to be the highest in the region, and now we have the second lowest in the Northeast region."

AUGUSTA, Maine — According to the Maine Center for Disease Control, over the past decade more than 1,300 Maine children had high levels of lead in their blood. Last year, the Legislature responded by tightening the state standard for elevated lead levels. But seven months have passed, and supporters of the new standard say the state has yet to implement it.

Some point to the childhood lead poisoning crisis in Flint, Michigan, as a warning that Maine should move swiftly to protect children.