Governor LePage Issues Statement on DHHS Supplemental Budget

January 11, 2012

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Contact: Adrienne Bennett (207) 287-2531

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul LePage released the following statement today regarding the current Department of Health and Human Services shortfall:

“I appreciate the leadership of Senate President Kevin Raye and House Speaker Robert Nutting for once again bringing attention to Maine people that the non-partisan Office of Fiscal and Program Review confirmed that the shortfall DHHS currently faces is consistent with the estimates we have provided the Legislature.

MaineCare, the state’s tax-payer funded, government-run healthcare (welfare) program, is in trouble.

DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew and her staff have worked tirelessly to provide the most accurate and best available information to the Legislature, while remaining transparent and dedicated to working towards a sustainable solution.

This taxpayer-funded, government-run healthcare (welfare) program has increased enrollment by nearly 80 percent during the last decade. This welfare program was originally designed to be a safety net for the elderly, disabled and children. It has since over-expanded its reach to many others who are less vulnerable.

As a result, considerable financial strain has been put on the system and our state. Enrollment has increased by nearly 80 percent and expenditures have soared by one billion dollars. The fact is we have been overspending for years and the federal government will no longer send us money to make up the difference.

The reform our Administration has brought forth is necessary for the welfare program to survive and continue to provide quality care for more than 280,000 Mainers – which is still an average of 15 percent more people than other states cover.

Democrats can no longer ignore this fiscal mess that they have created through the years. Tax-payer funded, government-run healthcare is not universal nor is it free – it is paid for by hardworking taxpayers – and it must be saved for Maine’s most vulnerable.

The Administration’s proposal has been public since the beginning of December, and while Democrats have criticized the plan from the start they have failed to work on any solutions to the problem. Republicans have been ready and willing to solve this and it’s time Democrats stop delaying this important issue.”