Judy McGinnis: Will Mayhew mean mayhem?
Mary Mayhew was recently appointed to oversee the Medicaid program — covering more than 70 million low-income Americans — and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which is offered to some families with children who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid.
Based on her past history, we should be aware and wary of what she hopes to accomplish. It would affect significant numbers in Colorado.
Mayhew, in her previous seven-year role as Maine’s health commissioner, was an aggressive conservative reformer and proud that enrollment dropped 25 percent under her term, affecting tens of thousands of people. These people were not lifted out of poverty. They just lost medical coverage.
Mayhew is outspoken about removing Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood clinics providing family planning, STD testing and cancer screenings for men and women. She seems to be unable to distinguish the difference between funding regular medical care and abortion.
Mayhew has been vocal about her disdain for Planned Parenthood. She said, “I will support legislation that protects the lives of the unborn … and I am also proud to say I implemented a policy that stopped the use of tax dollars for abortions by Planned Parenthood.”
She seems to be unaware that Medicaid cannot be used to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or danger to the mother’s life. Family planning grants under Title X cannot be used for abortion under any circumstance.
Some states, Texas for example, have submitted special waiver requests that would exclude from Medicaid reimbursement any regular medical care provided by a clinic if that clinic also provided abortion services, which is an attempt to circumvent congressional intent. Would Mayhew now be the person to grant that waiver?
Her track record is abysmal and her appointment is a threat to public health. Her Maine legacy of short-sighted cuts to children, seniors and adults with developmental disabilities will take years to rebuild.
People deserve to be able to make their own family planning decisions, and in order to do that, they need affordable access to high quality care. Medicaid is a program that helps people get there. We should be helping people have access to that program and expanding that access rather than jeopardizing it as Mayhew has done in Maine.
Please let our Colorado legislators know that access to quality medical care in Colorado should not be a partisan issue.
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