Lewiston council urges MaineCare solution

LEWISTON — Citing negative impact on city hospitals and a potential drain on General Assistance funding, city councilors Tuesday urged Gov. Paul LePage and state legislators to work out their differences on MaineCare funding.

"I wanted to bring this forward out of concern for our two largest employers, Central Maine Medical Center and St. Mary's hospital, and the potential loss of $20 million in MaineCare funds," Ward 3 Councilor Nathan Libby said. "Regardless of your opinion of MaineCare, these cuts could be devastating to our local employers."

LePage's proposed spending plan calls for sweeping cuts to MaineCare in response to a Department of Health and Human Services budget shortfall. The Legislature's Appropriations Committee has been working on a compromise plan that would partially fund state programs through June.

LePage has said he would veto such a compromise.

The City Council urged both sides to come up with a plan that would preserve hospital funding. Libby said the current cuts could send people needing assistance to the city's General Assistance offices looking for financial help.

"It's  just one more example of the state shifting its responsibilities to the municipalities," Libby said.

Councilors approved a resolution saying that by a 5-1 vote. Ward 7 Councilor Richard Desjardins voted against it, saying the city's resolution should include suggestions for budget cuts.

"The budget shortfall is there and I don't understand how else they can come up with that money," Desjardins said. "Nobody likes layoffs, but it is what it is."


What do you think of this story?

Login to post comments

In order to make comments, you must create a subscription.

In order to comment on SunJournal.com, you must hold a valid subscription allowing access to this website. You must use your real name and include the town in which you live in your SunJournal.com profile. To subscribe or link your existing subscription click here.

Login or create an account here.

Our policy prohibits comments that are:

  • Defamatory, abusive, obscene, racist, or otherwise hateful
  • Excessively foul and/or vulgar
  • Inappropriately sexual
  • Baseless personal attacks or otherwise threatening
  • Contain illegal material, or material that infringes on the rights of others
  • Commercial postings attempting to sell a product/item
If you violate this policy, your comment will be removed and your account may be banned from posting comments.



JOHN PAINTER's picture

Maine's race to the bottom

Then the Social Security Act Amendment of 1965 was passed it was done so after Congress recognized the rapid aging of the US population, between 1950 and 1963 growing from 12 million to 17.5 million senior citizens and the rapidly rising cost of hospital care at around 6.7% annually.

I would suggest that Maine has a similar dynamic and that current planned cuts to MaineCare by both the Legislature and Executive branch of Maine's government will only exacerbate our states race to the bottom - a return to the pre-Social Security Act of 1935 (the Act under which Medicare and Medicaid exist) life.  Which was ok if you were young and able, but, contrary to much of the romanticism of the past, for many if not most Americans who were old and or disabled, uterly horrible.

The system we have developed in Maine is not sustainable, it does not mean however there should not be a safety net system; the aged, children and the disabled. 

Maine should focus on preserving the social safety net for those individuals who are vulnerable, frail and unable to care for themselves.  While I personally think as a nation we should move towards a basic form of universal health care, Maine simply does not have the economy of scale to do so.  Continuing on our current watered down services only fosters a true race to the bottom, equivalent to a $10 tax break spread out over the course of the year. 

Robert McQueeney's picture

It seems to me that the issue

It seems to me that the issue here is economically funding this need. Yes, it is a need, not a want. People need healthcare. The question is how to best fund it. Just cutting it does not remove the need. I fear we (Taxpayers) will still end up footing the bill, but at the emergency room, where it is most expensive, instead of a managed situation.

GARY SAVARD's picture

Many complaints, but no

Many complaints, but no suggested solutions other than the same old "RAISE TAXES". The DHHS problems have to be fixed because we are spending way more than we can afford. Jobs will disappear in the process, but many are jobs that probably shouldn't have been created in the first place.

Betty Davies's picture

LePage seems determined to throw more people out of work

Gov. LePage campainged on a promis to create jobs. Where are they?

He is surely aware that his determination to slash MaineCare will result in several hundred (at minimum) healthcare workers being laid off in Maine.

These people will need unemployment benefits (which Republicans are also determined to slash). They will have less money to spend in their communities. That means local businesses will have fewer customers and will have to lay off more workers themselves.

LePage seems determined to do whatever ALEC prescribes, even when it harms Maine.


Stay informed — Get the news delivered for free in your inbox.

I'm interested in ...