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Rep. Deborah Sanderson (R-Chelsea)
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For Immediate Release

Date: 06/11/13

GOP Rep. Proposes Amendments to Remove Neediest Mainers from DHHS Waitlists

Amendments to Medicaid expansion bill would put 3,100 most vulnerable Mainers at front of line

AUGUSTA - In anticipation of another vote on LD 1066, the Medicaid expansion measure, Rep. Deborah Sanderson (R-Chelsea), has introduced two floor amendments to require that funding be provided to take 3,100 elderly and disabled Mainers off of MaineCare waitlists and give them the care for which they are eligible.

"I would like to know when our elderly and disabled will stop getting shoved to the back of the line so that young, able-bodied people can get free health insurance," said Sanderson, the ranking House Republican on the Health & Human Services Committee. "It's unconscionable to expand welfare to young adults while Maine's most vulnerable are left out in the cold."

House Amendment "A" would allow recipients of Section 21 home- and community-based services comprehensive waivers to get off the waitlist and receive care. House Amendment "B" would remove all other eligible Mainers from waitlists.

"It is absolutely shameful that the elderly and disabled are being passed over for able-bodied young adults," said Rep. Heather Sirocki (R-Scarborough), also of the Health & Human Services Committee. "The Legislature should put its money where its mouth is and help those who need it, not just those who demand it."

Rep. Sanderson crafted her amendments with assistance from, and information provided by, the Department of Health & Human Services. She believes that care for those on the waitlists should be funded with existing resources, as MaineCare already consumes over one quarter of Maine's budget and Mainers are already burdened by tax increases at the state and federal level. "It's about setting priorities," said Sanderson.

"Anybody voting in favor of expansion, where not one penny of federal money will go to Maine's most vulnerable, should have to personally visit the families of folks who have been languishing on the wait list and explain to them why able-bodied young adults get priority over those whom Medicaid was originally designed to serve," added Sanderson.

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David Sorensen
Maine House Republicans
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