2018-03-06 / Opinion


Time for LePage to Comply with Will of the Voters

Maine voters approved the expansion of Medicaid with a 58.9 percent approval in the November 2017 election, but the Maine Department of Health and Human Services must provide a plan to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to begin offering this coverage to the qualified beneficiaries. Moreover, in the past, Maine’s legislature has five times passed the Medicaid expansion as provided under the Affordable Care Act, but Gov. LePage used his veto power to prevent the bills from becoming law. There are at least 70,000 Mainers who are qualified for the expanded Medicaid expansion coverage.

It’s time for the Maine DHHS and LePage to comply with the will of Maine’s citizens and submit the necessary plan to the CMS for approval, by early April. This submission is necessary before the coverage can be offered. Compliance with the will of the voters could make the Medicaid expansion possible, as soon as July 2018, but only if the necessary requirements are sent by the Maine DHHS for approval. Maine Providers Standing Up for Healthcare is a grass roots organization working with the Maine Equal Justice Partners and other advocacy groups, to ask the Maine DHHS to comply with the will of our citizens, and submit the request to CMS for the expansion, so as to cover those who qualify, as soon as possible.

Juliana L’Heureux,

Governor in the Wrong About Worker Training

Once again the governor has stamped his foot and insisted that that those entities receiving Workforce dollars spend an unrealistic 70 percent on skills training alone. Clearly the governor has no understanding that many who seek job training first need other supports such as skills development, educational assessment, counseling and other services in order to be ready to work effectively.

No other state in the nation requires more than 50 percent be spent on “job training” and yet the governor arbitrarily, without any valid reasons issues his edicts. Governor, stop tying the hands of those who have the knowledge and the ability to get the job done.

If he insists on his 70 percent, he will be depriving some Mainers of the support they need to re-enter the workforce and contribute to our economy.

Arthur Davis,

Not Right to Short-Change DHHS

A little girl was beaten to death last week. We come to find out that DHHS was called 6-7 times before she was murdered. According to the Bangor Daily News, 12,198 out of 54,904 calls in total to the DHHS hotline weren’t answered on the first try in 2016! When one does get through the wait times are too long. They tried to remedy the situation by hiring contract workers. Seriously? Contract workers require zero sick time and benefits, you know, the way most businesses operate today. Hire contract or parttime, just enough hours to get the job done but just under the required hours to have to pay any benefits. You’re on your own.

Go back to the old way of doing things. Hire more qualified, compassionate full time staff and pay them a good salary and benefits along with a pension (remember those?).

DHHS is severely understaffed and obviously inept. Way too many children have slipped through the cracks. Too many have died at the hands of the very monsters who were supposed to care for them. Abuse of children in Maine rose by 58 percent from 2011 to 2013. The one running the show at DHHS since 2011 resigned to run for another office. That person is not qualified to be dog catcher, in my humble opinion.

To add insult to injury, the governor’s administration is going to “save” $2.2 million and end the child abuse prevention program. Marissa was unable to talk or walk correctly in her final days due to the beatings she had received. Marissa and all of those before her deserve better. Cuts? Really? How can some people sleep at night?

Kathy D’Agostino,

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