PORTLAND – U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud called for leadership and action from the LePage administration as reports continue to surface demonstrating the failure of the administration’s new MaineCare ride system.
“It’s time we get back to basics and demand a government that works and is accountable to the people,” Michaud said. “With every transition, you have bumps and growing pains but this is beyond repair and isn’t getting better. Mainers deserve more than a government driven by dysfunction where disabled Mainers are being left stranded, waiting for a ride. They deserve real leadership and action from Governor LePage and his administration.”
In August, Gov. Paul LePage’s Department of Health and Human Services switched to a brokered model for the transportation program. Since that time the new program has failed. Not only is it costing taxpayers more money than the old program but the providers are failing to provide the services they promised to the state.
Clients are having difficulty booking rides and people are missing doctors’ appointments because rides have been delayed or not provided at all. According to the Portland Press Herald, one preschool student who needs a gait trainer to walk was dropped off at school without it because it wouldn’t fit in the drivers vehicle and another women’s three-year-old son with developmental disabilities was dropped off at the wrong house.
Earlier this month Michaud visited with leaders at York County Community Action where he heard from community leaders about the successes of the old program and the impact the new ride program was having on individuals and the community as a whole.
Despite calls for action and promises from the LePage administration to address the issues, the program isn’t getting better. In fact, the largest of the three providers, Coordinated Transportation Solutions, reports it has missed more than 5,000 rides since August, including missing 505 rides the week of Oct. 5. Now clients are abandoning the program completely.
“Maine should cancel the contract and get our money back. For months, taxpayers have been paying millions of dollars for services that aren’t being performed, meanwhile our most vulnerable citizens are being left out in the cold, unable to make it to doctors appointments. It’s one thing to try out a new idea and have it not work. It’s another to remain silent and refuse to take action when the program has clearly failed.”