By: Paul Harrell
Mary Mayhew, the former head of Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), will be the new director of the national Medicaid program. Mayhew successfully fought attempts to expand Medicaid under Obamacare in the state of Maine for fiscal and budgetary reasons. In April 2016 Mayhew was in Arkansas visiting a family member and listening to the radio. She heard conservative radio host Paul Harrell of Conduit News discussing Medicaid Expansion in Arkansas. Mayhew then called into the program and expounded on why rejecting Medicaid expansion was prudent. According to Mayhew, passing Medicaid expansion would lead to a “crisis riddled budget” for Maine. By rejecting Medicaid expansion, it “allows the state to look more comprehensively at its priorities” she said. She also emphasized rejection of Medicaid expansion allowed the state to serve those who are truly in need of government services rather than able-bodied working age adults.
The pressing question now is if Mayhew’s anti-expansion views will carry over in her new role as Director of Medicaid. Arkansas expanded Medicaid under Obamacare and disregarded warnings from Republican members of Arkansas’s federal delegation. Congressman Rick Crawford advised against itback in 2013. Then Congressman, now Lieutenant Governor, Tim Griffin, warned against expansion because “there is no dedicated funding stream” he said.
With still no dedicated funding stream, what will Mary Mayhew’s fiscal conservatism mean for Arkansas or other states who expanded Medicaid under Obamacare?