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Mainecare Update

By now, you’ve probably heard about Maine Governor Paul LePage’s proposal to plug a hole in the state’s budget by reducing or eliminating a number of services now funded by Mainecare, the state’s Medicaid program. In December, we asked our residents, friends, and everyone who cares about the well-being of older adults throughout Maine to join us in urging legislators to reject the governor’s proposal. We’re delighted to report that people everywhere answered the call—and our elected representatives got the message, loud and clear.

Here’s why it’s so important to protect MaineCare support for low-income elders: Currently, some 4,000 low-income seniors, including many of Quarry Hill’s current residents, rely on Mainecare to pay for assisted-living care. These folks don’t need nursing homes, but their needs are such that they cannot live at home. Many were not poor or low-income when they entered assisted living; however, by paying for the care they require, they have gradually “spent down” their resources to a point where they can no longer afford the cost of care. If we deny Mainecare support to these fragile seniors, we’ll have solved an accounting problem but abandoned some of our most vulnerable neighbors.

Today, thanks to the many who have told legislators not to balance the budget on the backs of Maine’s low-income elderly and disabled, we’re cautiously optimistic that the proposed Mainecare funding cuts will be denied. The Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee and the Health and Human Services Committee, charged with reviewing the proposal, have said that they’re committed to finding an alternative to the governor’s plan. But the underlying budget issues remain unresolved.

We’re grateful to all who have joined us so far in the fight to protect funding for assisted-living care. Rest assured: we’re keeping a watchful eye on developments in Augusta and will keep you posted as this important issue evolves.