Like any political organism, it’s first instinct is self-preservation.

I’m referring to Maine’s nonprofit industrial complex, the network of progressive entities that promotes and feeds off the growth of the welfare state, and provides permanent high-paying jobs for the Democratic Party faithful.

Earlier this year, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services declined to renew its $400,000 annual contract with Consumers for Affordable Health Care, a member in good standing of the aforementioned complex. CAHC’s funding stream had been justified for years as allowing this private nonprofit to help people obtain health insurance.

However, there were several problems with this contract. First, there is no need for it, especially now. Anybody seeking health insurance coverage can go to, which is the ObamaCare exchange.

This site has been promoted and advertised to the tune of billions of dollars, and everybody is now mandated to have insurance coverage. Those using the exchange who find themselves eligible for Medicaid are directed to DHHS.

CAHC is nothing but an unnecessary middleman in the cog of Maine’s health care system. State government has far too many government employees and contracted organizations like CAHC with too little work to do. It’s time to cut the fat, and that’s exactly what DHHS did.

Even if CAHC provided a needed service to DHHS, they have shown how ineffective and wasteful they are.

One of CAHC’s missions is outreach, yet they spent just $2,000 of their $800,000 budget on advertising in 2013.

Take a guess at how much CAHC paid its executive director. The answer? More than $120,000 to run an office with some half-dozen employees.

For comparison’s sake, DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew makes roughly the same amount to run a $3.5 billion, 3,300-person government agency.

CAHC’s mission is statewide outreach, but their Facebook page has fewer “likes” than the Madawaska Police Department. So what are they doing with all that time and money?

One of the worst-kept secrets in Augusta is that many of the nonprofit organizations receiving state funding have two stated goals. One is to justify taxpayer subsidies — health care outreach in the case of CAHC, or legal aid for the poor in the case of Maine Equal Justice Partners.

The other is a more unstated goal of lobbying the Legislature and the media for left-wing policy initiatives.

CAHC says it needs this $400,000 in order to help people “navigate” the health insurance system — never mind that ObamaCare is already pumping millions into “navigator” groups — yet their hearts and minds are really in the fight to push socialized medicine on Maine taxpayers.

That’s why they spend most of their time lobbying for Medicaid expansion, single-payer health care, or the now-defunct Dirigo Health, and opposing virtually any market-based reforms that would drive down costs in our health care system.

This mindset is no more apparent than when CAHC advertises job openings. On a liberal jobs board, they require “a commitment to social justice,” which is code for “we only hire Democrats.” Why would a “commitment to social justice” be required of someone answering phones to help people find health insurance?

Frankly, CAHC’s primary mission is self-preservation. In 2012, when Maine reformed its health insurance regulations, lawmakers saw fit to put industry experts on the insurance rate review panel instead of the historically favored left-wing activist organizations like CAHC and Maine People’s Alliance.

This jeopardized their grant funding, so they got a politician to introduce a bill to restore the seat for which the organization is eminently unqualified.

This time they’ve tapped two state representatives who serve on the Health and Human Services Committee, Karen Vachon, R-Scarborough, and Patty Hymanson, D-York, persuading them to introduce legislation to force DHHS to continue paying CAHC $400,000 per year for services DHHS doesn’t need.

CAHC is a wasteful nonprofit — one of many at the government trough in Augusta — that is more concerned about pushing left-wing ideology than they are about helping people with health insurance.

If you’re as concerned about reforming Augusta as I am, contact your state lawmakers and urge them to oppose the Vachon/Hymanson bill to force DHHS to subsidize CAHC.

Lawrence Lockman, R-Amherst, is serving his second term in the Maine House of Representatives (District 137), and serves as the ranking Republican on the Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development committee. He may be reached at [email protected]

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