Nearly 5,000 Maine seniors living in residential care facilities may end up displaced from a proposal by the state’s governor, Paul LePage, to cut $60 million of state funding from private non-medical institutions, reports the Morning Sentinel.
With about 470 private non-medical institutions in the state, LePage’s proposal seeks to eliminate a $221 million shortfall in Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services budget.
Currently, individuals who do not have enough monthly income to pay the private rate of these facilities are eligible for state-funded coverage, and the budget proposal would eliminate this coverage for everyone in the program.
Were the facilities to close, the state would save $60 million and reduce federal matching funds the state receives by more than $100 million, reports the Morning Sentinel.
The controversial proposal ranks high among state lawmakers’ concerns.
“Assuming 10 is most important, I would put it at 10,” Rep. Meredith Strang Burgess, R-Cumberland, House chairwoman of the Health and Human Services Committee, is quoted as saying in the article.
The LePage administration says the program isn’t sustainable as it is currently structured. “The federal government is raising questions about the way Maine has billed for services,” the article says. “LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett says there is money in the budget to help transition away from the system, but the budget does not spell out an alternative.”
Read the full Morning Sentinel article here.
Written by Alyssa Gerace