MORE MEDICAID FOR MAINE
March 4, 2005
Since the beginning of 2003, Maine has experienced a 1.4 percent job growth, yet its Medicaid enrollment has increased by a remarkable 15.1 percent. Moreover, Maine Gov. John E. Baldacci (D) plans even further expansion of the program.
According to the Maine Heritage Policy Center (MHPC), however, the Medicaid program is not sustainable:
- Since 2003, the state has spent $165 million on its Medicaid program over two years, with an additional increase of $31.6 million (or 36 percent) planned for 2005.
- Gov. Baldacci plans to enroll 78,000 additional adults in April by increasing eligibility for non-disabled, childless adults.
- Maine's Medicaid eligibility for parents is over twice the national average.
- The additional expenditures on Medicaid will threaten other budget priorities, including K-12 and higher education, as well as promised tax relief.
To put it in perspective, since 2003, Maine's Medicaid eligibility has grown to cover 261,000 people, or almost 21 percent of Maine's population. This is even larger than the state's public school enrollment of 202,000 students.
Proposals from the Taxpayer Bill of Rights Coalition and the Maine Chamber of Commerce would require spending growth to commensurate with revenue growth. Indeed, Maine's revenues are expected to grow by 3.6 percent over the next two years, but if the Governor has his way, spending will increase anywhere from 2 to 4.5 percent annually, says MHPC.
Sources: Tarren Bragdon, "Governor Baldacci's Track Record: Three Chilling Facts About Maine's Unsustainable Medicaid Program," Medicaid Watch, Maine Heritage Policy Center, vol. 2, issue 1, Winter 2005 and ?Maine Heritage Releases Budget Checklist,-- Maine Heritage Policy Center, January 6, 2005.
Browse more articles on Health Issues