Editorial: Legislature must rein in the excesses of this administration

Posted Wednesday, December 21, 2011 in Opinion

Last week's devastating proposed cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services was a shameless political power play based on Gov. Paul LePage's ideology, not because such cuts are absolutely necessary.

Yes, it is true that DHHS is running in the red.  But as we indicated in our analysis last week, there are ways to provide quality health care without destroying a valuable social safety net that many Mainers rely upon, in a state where insurance prices are obscenely high.

Now it is time for the usually thoughtful and even-handed State Legislature to hand LePage a message that they will not be the object of his vindictive and destructive ideological policies. 

We hope the legislature will consider all the options, and make changes that will benefit Maine's people.  Yes, MaineCare must be reformed.  But the process should be thoughtful.  For better or for worse, too many people will be seriously injured if anything even remotely like the cuts LePage proposes are enacted.  Fixing the problems that exist will be a long-term process, and the best solutions will not eliminate health care for the poor, nor will it evict the mentally ill and disabled, or the frail elderly who need round the clock care.  

No matter how poor Maine is, the least we must be able to do is care for those who need long-term care.

Since cutting these people off is not a legitimate choice, other systemic options must be considered.  We have made a modest suggestion; we hope that it will be at least considered by the committee and the full legislature before draconian measures are taken that will do irreparable harm to the most needy in Maine.

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