|By Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
According to DHHS Commissioner
However, the review is not close to complete and its result is unknown. And, the simple reality is that adjustments to program administration will not come close to meeting the budget deficit. The department will have to cut programs and services, and it will start by whittling
Mayhew said one of the guidelines will be to measure
For instance, in 2002, DHHS added a new class of
Four months later, that number had jumped to 10,036 and has consistently remained between 10,000 and 22,000 each month since. In October, there were 18,819 adults receiving service, which is about 5 percent of all
According to Gov.
Using that spending estimate, Mainers pay
On Monday, the
In talking about that possibility last week, Mayhew said that she hoped these adults would pursue individual medical insurance policies to maintain continuity of coverage. But, that is unlikely. These adults qualify for
The more likely scenario is that these uninsured adults will seek medical care at the most expensive sites — our state's emergency rooms. And, without the ability to pay, the cost of their care will be pushed off on businesses and the privately insured.
What may also happen is that these adults who would no longer qualify for care as individuals may consider having children in order to qualify for family coverage, bringing the burden for the parent and child's combined care back to DHHS.
Cutting an entire class of
In addition to aligning state benefits with federal requirements, another measure DHHS may consider in trimming services is comparing public services to those offered under private insurance.
One example is that
Just because insurance is publicly funded does not mean it should be more extravagant than available in the private sector. Right?
While we appreciate and support the governor's position to trim DHHS instead of grabbing funding from other agencies to resolve the DHHS deficit, it just doesn't make sense to eliminate an entire class of
Instead, we need sensible, surgical cuts across the agency's entire roster of services and then focused attention paid to controlling costs, quashing fraud and protecting the public's money.
The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and editorial board.
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