Maine's governor wants to go further than most states and cut some 65,000 Medicaid enrollees to close budget gaps in the program, reported Stateline Health News and the Kennebec Journal.
The proposal by Gov. Paul LePage includes not only cutting adults from the Medicaid rolls, but also dropping room and board coverage for about 2,000 aging adults who live in group homes.
"If we are to bring our welfare system to a manageable level that Maine can afford we must make the necessary structural changes," said LePage, a Republican elected to office in 2010 and noted for his blunt statements and management style. "The state can no longer use gimmicks to fill the hole."
In addition to virtually eliminating coverage for all non-disabled adults without children, LePage proposed eliminating dental and chiropractic care, as well as removing coverage for physical therapy.
However, critics noted that cutting adult coverage would save only $37 million, while the Medicaid program faces a budget deficit of $220 million over the next two fiscal years, noted Stateline Health News. The state also would be bumping against a federal mandate to preserve current Medicaid eligibility rules prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2014.
The legislature has proposed less draconian measures that would keep the Medicaid program operating until July 1. It requires a two-thirds majority for passage and to override a veto threatened by Le Page.