By Dan Diamond and Brianna Ehley
POLITICO, October 15, 2018
The Trump administration has tapped Mary Mayhew — the architect of Maine’s aggressive conservative reforms to the social safety net — to oversee the national Medicaid program. She has been an ally of outgoing Maine Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican who has fought as hard as any governor against expanding Medicaid under Obamacare.
CMS announced the move internally Monday, the day Mayhew began as the agency’s deputy administrator and director of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Mayhew served as Maine’s health commissioner for six years under LePage, leading efforts to tighten the state’s Medicaid eligibility standards, add work requirements to the food stamp program and implement other conservative reforms. She supported LePage as he rejected efforts to expand the state’s Medicaid program — repeatedly vetoing legislation and then resisting after nearly 60 percent of Maine voters approved expansion on a ballot measure in 2017. LePage is spending his final months in office fighting a court order to expand the program.
Mayhew stepped down in May 2017 and ran to succeed LePage as governor, losing in the June Republican primary. As part of her campaign, Mayhew touted how safety-net programs had shrunk under her watch, pointing to a 70 percent decrease in enrollment in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program — one of the sharpest declines in the nation — and a 24 percent decrease in Medicaid enrollment.
Advocates have warned that Maine’s safety-net suffered under Mayhew’s leadership, noting that measures of hunger and poverty rose even while she oversaw cuts to programs designed to feed and support low-income residents.
By Don McCanne, M.D.
The Trump administration has appointed Mary Mayhew as director of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). She previously worked with Maine Governor Paul LePage to slash safety net programs in that state, taking great pride in the fact that they reduced Medicaid enrollment by 24 percent.
Really? President Trump, Secretary Azar and Administrator Verma brought in a slash and burn expert to supervise the health programs for low-income individuals and families? This is happening right now in the good old United States of America? What kind of a nation have we become that we tolerate this?
Shall we call for a hundred million man march on Washington? If we did, I’m afraid that it would be quite lonely out there.
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