This isn't about money, it isn't about the kids, it isn't about parents and it isn't about the teachers, it's systemic it's about leadership and vision - rather, the lack of leadership and vision. I appreciate Mr.Websters work, he should be commended and thanked, but I think at this juncture our community needs a change at the top and this report card is his.
While I think the responsibility is ultimately the individuals responsibility to know where and what circumstances are legitimate for EBT card use, it's not unreasonable for the state to restrict EBT access at locations already not allowed.
I think the real story is why did the governor take so long to address something which is already illegal? Addressing welfare fraud has been the Governors priority since day one, but it has taken him three years to figure out ATM machines which can accept EBT cards at locations which are not allowed is sketchy... This seems odd considering his focus while in office.
While there are certainly people who cheat the system, and always will be, we have a system in place address that through our laws and enforcement.
While this new photo ID system might prevent some cheating, people who want to cheat will find ways around it, but for the vast majority of people with legitimate need who are disabled and not able to shop independently and rely on family or paid care givers for assistance with shopping, this will add new layers of cost for them and the system. It also remains to be seen if there might be ramifications from the USDA or possibly DOJ for denying access to a benefit.
I agree completely with the utilization of co-occurring Courts and the approach Kennebec Co. District Attorney Maloney has in addressing the unique challenges of Veterans (who often find themselves struggling with addictions), however the cost of the rest of the Governor's approach is bizarre.
There's a fair amount of data both generated by Maine DHHS and outside reviewers e.g. Pew, Vera, etc of the cost of both our prison system and substance abuse treatment services here in Maine.
In Maine, the average cost of incarceration per year per person by 2010 data (the most recent we have) is $56,269.00 and for the same year the average cost of evidence based substance abuse treatment is $3,134.17.
I would agree that coming to school ready to learn is critical. I also would point out class sizes of 30 or more is not unusual in Europe (Germany and Hungary where I have lived and worked), I would also add that European children begin public school later than Americans, my wife who is Hungarian (a developmental psychologist by training) has been quick to point out to me that extra year or two in the home is critical for development of social skills which translate into a more mature and serious student. That pays off for everyone.
I am curious about the spike in MaineCare costs, and will need to find out a bit more since it should not have as much impact unless Lewiston is bearing the the full seed cost and not receiving FMAP. The schools were not Medicaid compliant several years ago in billing so that is an area to look at for that portion of cost.
Thank you Friends of Pettingill Park! A lot of thanks should also go to the City Council and Mayor for having the long range wisdom of preserving the land to allow us to develop the park for the benefit of everyone.
I agree with my neighbors that there are already a number of houses and land for sale in the immediate area that have been for sale for some time, the city dumping more housing into the market sounds good (I feel the burn of the cost of living like everyone) but will not improve our property value or city tax base. The city voted for a long term development strategy which will benefit everyone, not just the neighborhood as Lewiston is recognized as an excellent place to live, interact with others, and start a business.
Again, thank you City Council and Mayor and all the Friends.
John, Kati and Kelen
Claire, I think I get some of your angst over the term managed care. I'm not certain though from your comment or any of the others if your understanding that Maine is already pursuing a form of Medicaid managed care, generally agreed to by most of the Legislature and supported by most hospitals. It's called "medical health home" or in behavioral health is call "behavioral health home". The term is confusing since it's NOT a location as "home" might suggest, rather it is a philosophy of emphasis on primary health care as the home/locus of addressing healthcare needs, e.g. making sure everyone has a primary care doctor, and that people utilize evidence based preventive and wellness interventions.
I can pretty much assure you that no one would be making a lot of profit from health homes. From my perspective having looked closely at the behavioral health home funding structure the state has described, it unrealistically requires an array of services which would not be widely deliverable based on the capitated rate the state would pay.
While I personally would like to see MaineCare expanded, as opposed to doing nothing, I think the plan as proposed gives the full Legislature some opportunity to work the political process and get things done.
I've suggested to several Legislators and the Governor that Maine should look at the opportunities for establishing a Northern woodlands (or possibly off shore tide and wind energy) health or mental health Trust comparable to Alaska's as a long term funding strategy to move costs away from tax payers and towards sustainable resources which could also help create jobs. So I think this proposal, though not everything I'd want is better than the political stalemate - lack of willingness to collaborate and compromise so prevalent these days.
While I understand some of the Councilors attraction to the possibility of having $160,000 in potential revenue enticing, I find their opposition to the development of Pettingill Park comparable to the Stanford Marshmallow experiment. The experiment initially conducted by Walter Mischel at Stanford University in 1970 examined the effects of immediate gratification versus delayed gratification. Essentially, the experiment involved offering young children one marshmallow or if they could wait 15 minutes a second marshmallow. While some children immediately ate the marshmallow, a number, particularly those who were more mature were able to delay their gratification.
Its important to point out that one of the findings of this classic experiment in human behavior has been to demonstrate, at least for children, there is a strong correlation between children who are able to delay gratification and improved life outcomes later on, whether measured by body mass index, SAT scores, an several other metrics.
The question I have, is whether our City Council has the ability to delay the immediate gratification of sale of the site for building lots, with the longer term potential of the site as a city park - acting as a magnate attracting more people to Lewiston, to live, shop, and prosper.
While it's disturbing that the state may have destroyed public documents, I think it's deplorable that with the fiscal climate Maine is challenged with, there is evidently enough money at the Governors Cabinets disposal that the DHHS is able to hire private attorneys at the tax payers expense.
While I generally believe some data, even bad, is better than none at all, this is not the case in Maine. We have ample data from a variety of state and private sources (hospitals, behavioral healthcare services, etc) to work with. After reading through the report myself I'm dismayed at the lack of use of Maine data and the black-box methodology the group uses to draw conclusions from - none of my professors in grad school statistics study design would have accepted such work from me, and I certainly wouldn't accept this.
Back to Maine data and our states challenges. I am routinely troubled by the near total absence of utilization of qualitative methods in Maine's DHHS for investigating what is happening in Maine's Medicaid program since human behavior plays such a central role in healthcare utilization.