(COMMON DREAMS) Jessica Corbett, October 15, 2018 — Provoking immediate warnings about what is now in store for the most vulnerable people in the United States, President Donald Trump on Monday reportedly tapped Maine’s former health commissioner Mary Mayhew—who was instrumental in Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s efforts to block Medicaid expansion in the state—to run the program at the federal level.
“Make no mistake, she was hired for her cruelty with the express purpose to dismember Medicaid.”
—Diane Russell, Maine politician
Critics such as Zak Ringelstein, a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate from Maine, rapidly denounced her appointment as “horrifying.”
People for Bernie co-founder Winnie Wong warned, “She’s coming for Medicaid.”
“This is horrible news,” responded Maine-based Dr. Cathleen London. “She destroyed Medicaid in Maine now she will destroy it in the whole country.”
Healthcare policy expert Andy Slavitt—who ran the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under the Obama administration—declared: “The Medicaid director from the state that refused to implement Medicaid expansion is now apparently to run the Medicaid program nationally under Trump.”
Former Maine state Rep. Diane Russell, a Democrat, expressed her alarm in a series of tweets.
“Make no mistake, she was hired for her cruelty with the express purpose to dismember Medicaid,” Russell charged, referencing a 2017 Portland Press Herald column that detailed the findings of a federal audit that showed gross failures while Mayhew was the state’s top health official responsible for administrating MaineCare, the state’s version of the program.