Mary Mayhew, commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services, is trying to make devastating cuts to the MaineCare program. On May 17 I witnessed so many people pleading to keep benefits, the loss of which would drastically change their lives.

A young mom testified that her disabled veteran husband, whose physical problems will only increase over time, requires all of her time and prevents her from working. Any loss of benefits will have ruinous consequences for her family.

Mayhew would require anyone who goes to an emergency room and is not sent for hospitalization to pay $20 for their visit. That amount of money is just not possible for the adult man with Down Syndrome who had his first seizure, went to the emergency room and was sent home with medication. Why should he be punished for that medical assessment?

The CEO of the Maine Primary Care Association said that charging Medicaid patients for missed appointments is unfair because the MaineCare ride system is inconsistent and unreliable, thus punishing people twice.

A resident whose son receives MaineCare as a result of being run over by a school bus as a child said her son works but does not earn a living wage. She said, “This waiver will not get people out of poverty.”

A senior citizen who does not need MaineCare told the audience that he is angry because he spent 30 years in the military fighting for our nation only to now listen to the many stories of people who have to come and beg and plead for services they deserve. I share his outrage.

Mayhew wants to tell the people of Maine that she has cut welfare costs to win favor in her plans to be governor. Stand up for the thousands of Mainers who deserve respect and health care.

Diane Potter

Gardiner