Maine Politics

From the Piscataqua to the St. John

Monday, January 31, 2005

"The war between education and Medicaid."

That's how Senator Peter Mills (R-Somerset) describes the current battle in the state house as quoted in this Portland Phoenix article examining where the money will come from to pay for the increased state funding of education. The list of programs cut is long and still incomplete but it includes services for the mentally ill, those on MaineCare, and foster parents. There was another interesting quote from this article as well:

The cuts allow the department, [DHHS deputy commissioner J. Michael Hall] says, to make reforms such as consolidating programs, putting them out for competitive bid, and bringing payments to service providers in line — by lowering them — with what other states do.

People who now get cared for in group homes will move into cheaper "community settings," he says.

Such as?

"Live in friends’ houses," he suggests.

That's how one reporter characterizes these cuts. Just for fun, let's see what the Maine Chamber of Commerce has to say. In their weekly newsletter sent to Maine businesses, they spend three pages discussing the new budget, the closest they come to mentioning cuts in services is this paragraph:
State government reorganization
Significant savings are projected in this budget for savings related to reorganization and restructuring of state government services. Consolidation is projected in many state offices, leading to more efficient and less costly administrative functions.

By the way, we've already discussed why cutting these kinds of services might cost us more in the long run.



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