Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, covers his heart while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, Wednesday, March 10, 2021, at the Augusta Civic Center in Augusta, Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

AUGUSTA, Maine — A group of Democratic state lawmakers unveiled a new health care reform plan on Tuesday that aims to drive down the cost of prescription drugs.

The office of Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, said this package builds on previous efforts to rein in the costs of prescription drugs with the goal of putting patients first in a health care system that’s badly broken. It includes bills to create a state “Office of Affordable Health Care” to identify what is driving high prices and prevent price gouging.

“One in seven Mainers reported skipping treatment or care because the costs were too high before the COVID-19 pandemic and we know that the COVID -19 pandemic has only made things worse,” Jackson said.

Sabrina Burbeck, whose 8-year-old son has Type 1 diabetes, which means he’s dependent on insulin, said no mother should have to worry that the life of her child could be cut short because medication prices spiked overnight or if they can’t afford it.

“It really does come down to being a life or death matter for some patients who can’t afford their medication,” Burbeck said.

Other bills in this package from top Democrats include clamping down on unsupported drug prices increases, strengthening price transparency and an insulin program for those without state-regulated health care plans.

Senate Minority Leader Jeff Timberlake, R-Turner, said he had a lot of questions about the package, including how much it will cost, saying it’s too soon to tell.