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Eye on PC NE

On Medicaid & Maine
By Marty Lich
Feb 14, 2005 - 5:42:00 PM

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It was interesting to read “Maine GOP Responds to State Fiscal Concerns” and “Policy Center Releases Alarming Report on Maine Medicaid” in the Magic City News. And fascinating to read that your Maine Republican Party is responding to Governor Baldacci and the way in which he is handling the state's fiscal responsibilities, and the governor's proposed bond package. While congruently your two Senators and your two Congressmen push for more immigration resulting in more financial burdens to the working families living in Maine.

According to the article Maine GOP Responds to State Fiscal Concerns, Federal Medicaid spending has grown by $399 million, or 35% in the first two years of the Baldacci administration. (The Office of Fiscal and Program Review: $1.14 B in 2003 [last year of the King Administration] to $1.58 B in FY2005)

State spending on Medicaid has grown $165 million or 30% in these same last two years.

Apparently, that's not enough money, because in Governor Baldacci’s latest supplemental budget he requests another $31.6 million in state funding (on top of the $707 million already being spent) for Medicaid this year (FY2005).

“The Governor needs to work with lawmakers - and listen to the taxpayers-- and come to a compromise package that employs fiscal restraint and sends a message that Maine is not going to dump our debt on future generations,” explained Raye.

Per the 2-14-05 article Policy Center Releases Alarming Report on Maine Medicaid, State spending on Medicaid has increased by over $196 million (or 36%) in just two years.

The state is already unable to meet its current commitment to over 261,000 people now requiring state Medicaid programs,” said executive director, Bill Becker.

Be advised that all illegal aliens, if they have a low income, qualify for Medicaid. No proof of legal residence is required.

The findings by the Center for Immigration Studies from the Census Bureau's 2000 Current Population Survey (CPS) show that:

  • 44 percent of immigrants and their children are in poverty or near poverty.
  • 30.9 percent of immigrants and their children do not have health insurance (compared with 13% of native born residents).

Couple that with the Census Bureau estimation that in July 2004 Maine’s population had increased by an annual average of about 9,845 residents since 2000 (to 5,558,058 residents). Over that period immigration was adding about 975 persons each year through net international migration (more immigrants arriving than leaving). During the same period there was an annual average population gain of about 7,990 residents from net domestic migration (more native-born residents arriving than leaving). This level of immigrant settlement is about 555 more per year than during the 1990s.

Consider as well, that although the ominous social effects of illegal immigration are just beginning to be felt in Maine, they are being fiscally ‘’felt by your state budget right now. In the October 4 - 11, 2001 issue of the Portland Phoenix, it was reported that the fact that immigration has hurt you is supported by a 1997 report from the Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences entitled “The New Americans”: “based on previous estimates of responses of wages to changes in supply, the supply increase due to immigration lowered the wages of high school dropouts observed between 1980 and 1994.” That was the beginning, although you may not have recognized it 4 years ago. To quote from The Portland Phoenix article titled Between racial profiling and harassment from immigration officials, migrant workers face more than back-breaking labor:  Seems like a good situation — everybody should be happy. Everybody, that is, except the government. The problem is, some of the immigrant workers come to this country illegally. It’s up to the border patrol to capture these undocumented workers. (Migrant advocates don’t like to call them “illegals.” “To me, no one is an illegal,” says Pérez-Febles, “they are workers without papers.”) President Fox, and apparently the US Congress who gave him a standing ovation after his speech in early September, disagrees, at least in the case of Mexico. Fox’s message was summarized in a September 9 article in the New York Times, by Tim Weiner: “[The] political language can be boiled down to a nugget: The answer is to increase the legal flow of Mexican labor to the United States — and the flow of American capital to Mexico. That could begin to close the great gap in wealth between the two nations. And that will take decades. Fox, of course wants more legal workers in the U.S. because the laborers send much of their pay to family in Mexico where it then enters the Mexican economy.

In the end, when the illegal alien migrant workers are primarily being paid non-taxed cash wages, your apples may come cheaper but your tax money that is spent on welfare services more than make up for any savings our government tells you we are getting.

To close, pay attention. Pay attention to what your elected state officials are doing, and pay attention to what our elected federal officials are doing. This includes President Vicente Fox because what he demands from America, he is getting. Maine’s legal taxpaying residents will be getting this: ”Governor’s $140 million in proposed health care cuts,” due to this: “Medicaid enrollment and state spending are both increasing at unsustainable rates,” remarked Tarren Bragdon, Director of Health Reform Initiatives.

Marty Lich


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