On behalf of our 230,000 members in Maine, AARP congratulates the Maine legislature for working together in the spirit of bi-partisanship to override Governor LePage’s vetoes and pass the state budget which includes restored funding for programs critical to many of Maine’s most at-risk residents.
In particular, AARP Maine fought hard for funding for the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) and the Drugs for the Elderly program (DEL), both of which provide access to essential health care and prescription drug coverage for seniors and adults with disabilities.
The legislature made the best decision to ensure tens of thousands of Mainers will still have access to the health care programs and services they need.
Margie Higgins is an 87-year old native of Bar Harbor and has lived in Bangor for the past 24 years. Margie gets help paying for her health and medical costs from programs such as MSP and DEL.
The MSP covers Medicare Part B premiums which pay for doctor visits, preventive care, ambulance services and outpatient care. It also covers Medicare Part D prescription drug costs and co-payments. If the proposed cuts had been approved, 40,000 seniors and adults with disabilities would have been cut from the program. Depending on their individual circumstances, these at-risk Mainers would have lost some or all coverage for prescription drugs, hospital deductibles, skilled nursing care, outpatient medical services and more.
Maine’s DEL helps pay for prescription drugs for low-income Mainers who are 62 or older and not yet eligible for Medicare. If the proposed cuts were approved, even more individuals would have lost their prescription drug coverage through the program.
AARP members voiced their concerns about the proposed cuts to the DEL and MSP throughout the session. We testified against these cuts before the Joint Standing Committees on Appropriations and Financial Affairs and Health and Human Services. We even delivered hundreds of petitions from Maine citizens across the state to legislative leadership. We are pleased that their voices and the voices of Maine’s most vulnerable citizens were heard in Augusta.