Governor Baldacci Proposes Flat Funding for Maine Care
Governor Baldacci addressed a joint session of the Legislature last Wednesday on the budget document he was to make available early this week.
In addressing the impact of the nearly $1 billion state budget deficit on Maine Care (formerly called Medicaid), the Governor indicated that he would not reduce the number of people eligible for Maine Care and Cub Care. Instead, providers would be asked to accept current levels of funding. He also indicated that Maine Care participants will be asked to make modest payments toward their care and alluded to 'some targeted service reductions.'
The Governor also indicated that he expected some administrative savings from combining the Departments of Human Services and Behavioral and Developmental Services.
Drug costs continue to be a focus of budget cutters as the Governor stated that he will tighten controls on prescription drug costs.
The Governor noted that funds from the national tobacco settlement will continue to be used exclusively for health care.
Next week's Maine Medicine will contain more details on the budget, which is expected to be delivered to the Legislature by today.
While flat funding for providers continuing to participate in the Maine Care program is not good news, it was feared that the Governor might actually decrease reimbursement.
Flat funding for the program also serves to bring to people's attention the difference between those providers, such as physicians, who are paid on a fixed fee schedule which is not adjusted yearly and those institutional providers, such as hospitals, which receive updates each year.