A Maine woman who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis has told a senate committee that the high cost of treating the disease is an unfair burden on thousands of patients.

Eighty-year-old Patty Bernard of Falmouth testified before the Senate Aging Committee on Wednesday at the request of Republican Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

Bernard told the committee she was able to manage the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis with medication until she retired at age 79 and switched from employer-sponsored insurance to Medicare.

Bernard says the cost of the drug shot from a copayment of $10-$30 to $3,800 per month.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that affects the joints. Collins says it affects more than a million Americans, including more than 8,700 people in Maine.

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