AUGUSTA The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has rejected two of Gov. Paul LePage's plans to eliminate health insurance for low-income Mainers.
In letters sent to the LePage administration Jan. 7, U.S. DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius rejected the governor's request to cut Medicaid insurance for low-income 19- and 20-year-olds. It also spurned a request to cut health insurance for parents earning less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level.
Sebelius did approve the governor's request to deny prescription drug coverage and health care to some elderly and adults with disabilities receiving Medicaid. It also approved a cut that removed health care for another group of adults earning between 133 percent and 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
The LePage administration had requested federal approval to make the cuts to balance the current two-year budget ending June 30. All told, the cuts represented about $20 million. It was not immediately clear how much savings the administration will achieve by the cuts that were approved, but it's unlikely to help bridge an anticipated $100 million funding gap for the state's Medicaid program, MaineCare.