Julie McDonald-Smith believes economics is “left” or “right” (“The Right View: Economics is a matter of right vs. left”). Actually it’s a matter of facts.
If Gov. LePage and DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew are right on refusing Medicaid expansion, why did so many Republican governors fight for expansion in their states? Because they understood the economic benefit. How fiscally responsible is it for Mainers to be paying with their federal taxes for the health care of citizens of other states, while we ignore the well-being of Maine’s workforce, providing care when they’re much sicker and when it costs a whole lot more?
A new study just released by the Maine Health Access Foundation, conducted by Manatt Health Solutions, projects a $26 million budget benefit in 2016 if Maine were to expand Medicaid, more than offsetting the $17 million in new costs. Manatt arrived at those numbers by examining the expansion-related costs and savings experienced by eight states that expanded Medicaid. It’s considered to be a very conservative estimation of costs savings. And when the 100 percent federal funding shifts to 90 percent, that is still better than the approximately 60 percent funding that the state receives for Medicaid-covered services currently.
While LePage and Mayhew like to trot out their concern for the elderly and severely disabled, the governor’s proposed budget will cut thousands of Maine’s elderly from the Medicare Savings Program and the Drugs for the Elderly Program. Those covered by these programs live on fixed incomes. Losing this coverage has dire consequences for them.
Want less economic chaos? Stick to the facts.