During the past 30 years there has been tremendous growth in the budget of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, both in the Medicaid insurance program and in other programs offered to those in need.
Sadly, the state government failed the public as officials continued to enact more programs and offered a broader safety net than that established by federal regulation. That meant less money from the federal government and higher state tax rates.
Until the Gov. Paul LePage administration, there had been no efforts to control spending or review the programs to make sure they were serving the needs of those truly in need. It has gone from being a safety net to being an easy alternative for too many individuals who could have other resources. The current model is unsustainable.
Program changes that can be made include placing caps on reimbursement to hospitals that limit reimbursement based on executive compensation, removing childless adults who are able to work and removing those who choose MaineCare for their children only because it is a less expensive alternative to coverage offered by their employer.
Overpayments to health care providers under the old computer system must be collected.
The size of the DHHS administration staff must be reduced and remaining programs should be consolidated.
Changes must be made to the system. Some recipients would be affected in order to keep the rest of the system in place for those who truly need help.
Stop the rhetoric. Save the system.
Robert Reed, Lewiston