The Trump administration just hired Former Maine Health and Human Services commissioner Mary Mayhew as the new head of Medicaid.
Mayhew dramatically slashed Maine’s Medicaid budgets and was responsible for dropping approximately 80,000 low-income Mainers from the program, reducing MaineCare’s enrollment by 37 percent. One of her more infamous legacies was imposing a work requirement for food stamp recipients.
As Maine’s health commissioner, Mary Mayhew also attempted to make 19 and 20-year-olds, as well as and parents earning more than $8,064 a year, ineligible for MaineCare.
Mayhew said she was making “difficult decisions to prioritize limited resources so we could support the most vulnerable populations in our state.” Her decisions, enthusiastically backed by Maine Governor Paul LePage (R), were successful in flattening out Maine’s Medicaid budget, which had been increasing every year.
However, Maine was also ranked the third-worst state in the nation for families suffering from hunger when Mary Mayhew left her position. Afterwards, she unsuccessfully ran to replace LePage as governor, getting crushed in the Republican primaries with a meager 14 percent of the vote.
Mayhew’s vehement opposition to Medicaid expansion is in line with the Trump administration’s position on the matter, which has been trying to aggressively cut back on Medicaid expansions enabled by Obamacare by allowing red states to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients. Trump initially struggled in this endeavor, after a federal judge blocked efforts made by Kentucky to do so.
The Trump administration later approved work requirements for Medicaid recipients in Arkansas, and tens of thousands are expected to be kicked off the program once the new requirements are fully implemented in 2019.
Indiana and New Hampshire are also slated to implement Medicaid work requirements in 2019, with many other red states also expecting to receive approval from Trump.
“There is zero evidence to suggest that depriving people of Medicaid will lead to greater levels of employer insurance,” 40 health policy scholars wrote in an amicus brief in protest of Kentucky’s work requirements. “The CMS work ‘demonstration’ destroys, not improves, Kentucky’s substantial health care achievements and defeats, rather than promotes, Medicaid’s purpose as a safety net insurer.”
Nathan Wellman is a Grit Post contributing editor in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter: @LIGHTNINGWOW. You can also email him at info AT gritpost DOT com.