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At least 15 dead as severe weather sweeps across central US; on Memorial Day, IA labor leaders honor fallen workers; Medical center installs microgrid to safeguard clinic power supply; 'Second look' laws gain traction, but MS sticks to elderly parole; Will summer heat melt New Mexicans' cravings for ice cream?

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One congressman cites ways Biden could get more support from communities of color. A new Louisiana law reclassifies two abortion medications as controlled substances. And Ohio advocates work to boost youth voter turnout.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Supplemental budget puts Maine’s Medicare Savings Programs at risk

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Thursday, March 7, 2024   

Some 30,000 Mainers could lose access to critical healthcare benefits under Gov. Janet Mills' proposed supplemental budget.

The state legislature took historic action last year to expand Medicare Savings Programs, which help Medicare recipients with limited incomes afford out-of-pocket expenses.

Mills proposes that expansion be reversed.

Bridget Quinn - associate state director of advocacy and outreach with AARP Maine - said the governor may want to save for a rainy day, but too many Mainers are still struggling to meet their basic needs.

"It hasn't gotten any easier," said Quinn. "A lot of people are still struggling, so for some people the rainy day is here and that is something that we think needs to be considered."

Quinn said Medicare households already spend more than double that of non-Medicare households on their healthcare needs.

Mills has proposed saving more than $100 million to protect the state's long-term fiscal health.

Maine's Budget Stabilization (Rainy Day) Fund has reached nearly $970 million - a record high, so it was a shock for healthcare advocates when a rollback of the Medicare Savings Programs was announced.

Quinn said AARP hears regularly from Mainers struggling to pay for prescription drugs, co-pays and deductibles.

She said limiting Medicare Savings Programs could lead people to avoid needed medical care.

"They're going to wait and delay their appointments and maybe not go in for something that they're concerned about, which can really have huge, detrimental effects down the line."

Quinn urged Mainers to contact their legislators to urge them not to consider a budget that cuts critical healthcare support.

Mills has argued that if lawmakers can't budget responsibly now, they'll be forced to make more painful cuts in the future - like other states are having to do now.




Disclosure: AARP Maine contributes to our fund for reporting on Consumer Issues, Health Issues, Senior Issues, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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