Gov. Paul LePage has made a number of policy decisions based upon a misunderstanding of the facts.

He seeks to reduce the number of Maine people getting help with their health care costs, claiming that Forbes magazine’s low ranking of Maine was based, in part, on the state’s welfare costs. Forbes magazine disputes the governor’s statement.

LePage claims that Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services told him that Maine could get a waiver to allow it to reduce the number of elderly and disabled who get help from Maine’s Medicaid program.

No state has obtained such a waiver, however, and the secretary has no authority to grant one.

LePage claims that Maine’s Medicaid program offers a range of services that is far broader than the majority of states. Again, not true. In fact, the vast majority of state Medicaid programs cover the services the governor proposes to eliminate.

LePage claims that if only he could control Maine State Housing, he could somehow re-house the 6,000 elderly and disabled people he now wants to kick out of boarding homes on July 1.

This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the problems faced by these elderly and disabled, many of whom have dementia. They can’t live on their own. They need 24/7 care and that care is less costly to deliver in group settings than in 6,000 housing units strewn across the state that somehow would be created by July 1.

Finally, LePage claims that Maine cannot afford to care for its elderly and disabled, while at the same time he is giving a tax cut to Maine’s wealthiest. Let’s hope that our elected representatives in the State House will base their decisions on facts, not a misunderstanding of the facts.

Jack Comart

Readfield