As Network faithful have seen over the last few weeks, we've frequently been sharing news stories - most often related to Medicaid - that we identify as "signs of the apocalypse." Unfortunately, Medicaid is not turning out to be the silver bullet we all hoped it would be. Because of the partisan nature of politics, many governors are choosing to cut Medicaid eligibility and refusing to implement Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. This is bad news for children and families who will loose out on important and necessary services, and is a sign of the times.
However, the old adage, "Where there's a will there's a way" has come to mind for us this week. In Maine and Texas local officials are working together to fight against and work around Medicaid eligibility cuts and refusals to implement Medicaid expansion. In Texas, where Governor Rick Perry has refused to implement Medicaid expansion, local officials are banding together to implement county-run Medicaid expansion in order to take advantage of millions of dollars of federal aid. To learn more read the full news article from the Washington Post.
In Maine six mayors are working together to undo legislation that would cut Medicaid eligibility, meaning that tens of thousands of individuals would no longer be able to receive services. The mayors of the six largest cities in Maine have composed and submitted a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius requesting a denial of the waiver Maine submitted that would cut Medicaid eligibility. The mayors are claiming that the waiver passed to cut Medicaid eligibility is in violation of Maintenance of Effort (MOE) provision within the Affordable Care Act. The news article from Maine Insights states:
The Mayors of Biddeford, Portland, Saco, South Portland, Waterville and Westbrook have asked Secretary Sebelius to clarify that the MOE provision still applies and therefore the state’s proposed eliminations of coverage for tens of thousands of individuals are in violation of the requirement.
“While the focus of this debate has been in Washington DC and at the State House, it is important to note that it’s the cities and towns of Maine that will have to bear the burden and address the impact on the health and lives of our residents,” stated Portland Mayor Michael Brennan. “We represent the front line and the costs associated with these cuts will be paid for by our residents, our hospitals and our businesses whether through increases in charitable care, rising health insurance premiums or by taxing our safety net with more families turning to City Hall for help.”
We applaud the efforts taking place in these states and hope to see more local officials banding together to fight for the services that they know are critical to the well-being of local communities.