It seems to us that whenever there is talk about state budget cuts, the people who have the least to give are expected to give the most, year after year. Tens of thousands of people could be affected by proposed cuts to two programs that help older Mainers — the Drugs for the Elderly Program and the Medicare Savings Program. Depending on their circumstances, these at-risk Mainers will lose some or all coverage for prescription drugs, hospital deductibles, skilled nursing care, outpatient medical services and more.

The Drugs for the Elderly Program helps people who are not yet eligible for Medicare with their prescription drugs. These are Maine’s lowest income citizens. The program helps many of them live independent lives in their own homes and communities. Without this program, they will not be able to afford their much-needed prescriptions. Yet, massive cuts to the drugs program are being talked about in Augusta.

Also being talked about in Augusta are cuts to the Medicare Savings Program., which helps low-income seniors who cannot afford all of their Medicare out-of-pocket costs. This program also covers part of Medicare Part D prescription drug costs for those who cannot afford them. Cutting these programs will shift costs to local communities and also begs the question — what are these people to do? They won’t be able to absorb additional living expenses because they are already pushed to the limit financially.

The state has alternatives. These individuals do not. Decisions about the Drugs for the Elderly Program and the Medicare Savings Program are under consideration now, I sincerely hope that Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, and other legislators will reject any budget that includes these devastating budget cuts.

Bob and Carol MacDougall

Augusta


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