Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco
Issue: Environmental and Social Justice
Program Topic: The Maine legislature’s most recent cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services programs, including General Assistance and the Child Care Subsidy Program
Key Discussion Points (list at least 3):
a) The Maine legislature passes further budget cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). These include the elimination of 14,500 low income parents from MaineCare, who have income between 100-133% of the poverty level, and all 19 and 20 year olds under 150% of the poverty level. This effects an additional 7,000 Mainers. Both these measures and cuts to the Medicare Savings Program are currently in violation of the federal Affordable Care Act. The budget also includes cuts to the Drugs for the Elderly Program, and to the Fund for a Healthy Maine. Cuts to the latter include a $2 million reduction in state funding for Head Start, a $2 million cut to the Child Care Subsidy Program, $2.6 million to the Maine Families Home Visiting Program, and funding cuts for Family Planning and dental services.
b) Director of the City of Bangor Health and Community Services, Shawn Yardely discusses cuts to General Assistance. Yardley says 70-80% of recipients, who are not waiting for SSI application processing, are on the program for 3 months or less. The last round of cuts have reduced GA from $611 to $550. 80% of GA funds go towards housing. The cuts put a 9 month cap on GA housing aid.
c) Governor LePage’s press secretary says the administration plans to pursue further cuts.
A)Adrienne Bennett, press secretary for Governor Paul LePage
B) Shawn Yardely, Director of the City of Bangor Health and Community Services
C) “Maureen”, from South Portland. Budget cuts will effect her enrollment in the Child Care Subsidy, and possibly the MaineCare coverage she and her husband receive.
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