Letter: Legislature should reject LePage funding cuts

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Gov. LePage’s proposal to cut funding to assisted living facilities such as ours, as reported last week by The Forecaster’s Amy Anderson, is a penny-wise, pound-foolish plan.

The Chebeague Island Commons, like almost 160 similar providers in Maine, offers care to elders who can no longer live in their own homes. A portion of our costs come from MaineCare, the program the governor plans to cut by $120 million.

If we are forced to close or reduce services, our residents face untenable options: Move off the island into skilled nursing homes, where the per-day cost of services underwritten by MaineCare is far higher than our cost of providing care, or return to their homes to manage on their own or become dependant on their families. Then, a health crisis will almost certainly result in a trip to the emergency room or hospitalization, where treatment, also underwritten by MaineCare, is even more expensive.

LePage argues the cuts are needed to close a deficit in the state Department of Health and Human Services’ budget. This isn’t eliminating costs, it is simply ensuring that the ultimate price for care will be higher. We represent precisely the kind of enterprise the governor claims to support: Mainers helping Mainers, delivering cost-effective services while at the same time offering good jobs in communities that need them.

Our representatives in Augusta need to say no to this shortsighted plan.

Ann Thaxter, president
Island Commons Resource Center
Chebeague Island