DHHS Investigation

The Maine People's Alliance today joins the calls for an investigation into the conduct of Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner and former corporate lobbyist Mary Mayhew for providing incorrect budgetary information to the Legislature which played a role in the loss of all health care for more than 14,000 Mainers and service cuts for hundreds of thousands more.

"This is what happens when you put ideology and political cronyism ahead of the health care needs of the people of Maine," said MPA Executive Director Jesse Graham. "This result was foreseen from the very beginning. The legislators who voted against Mayhew's confirmation warned that she was being appointed for ideological reasons and that her background as a corporate lobbyist didn't prepare her to run such a complex and vitally important organization."

Shortly after Mayhew's nomination, a leaked LePage administration memo written by then-communications and legislative affairs director Dan Demeritt revealed a plan to politicize the civil service in general and DHHS in particular.

"Once we take office, Paul will put 11,000 bureaucrats to work getting Republicans re-elected," wrote Demeritt.

On the subject of DHHS payments to hospitals, he wrote: "I'll even make sure our members know the exact day the exact amount of State funding transferred (and the amount) to their local hospitals so our members can show up with a big symbolic check to make it a press event."

"Since the beginning of his administration, Governor LePage has considered the health care needs of the people of Maine as an obstacle to achieving his own political and ideological goals," said Graham. "That's the reason why DHHS senior civil servants who might have noticed this discrepancy were fired en masse and that's why he has prioritized new tax cuts for the wealthy over health care for Maine families."

"There should be a full accounting of this latest example of the costs of political cronyism, and if it is shown that Mayhew knew the information and didn't share it, she should resign her position as Commissioner," said Graham.