STATE HOUSE

Maine lawmakers take up welfare changes in budget

Posted March 07, 2011, at 9:49 a.m.
Last modified March 07, 2011, at 12:08 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Proposed funding for welfare and MaineCare are coming under the microscope of the Legislature’s budget reviewing committee.

A crowd of demonstrators filled a State House hall to protest Gov. Paul LePage’s proposed cuts in welfare and MaineCare programs, changes the administration says are due in large part to the end of federal stimulus funding and added enrollments.

A couple of hundred demonstrators outside the governor’s office chanted “Don’t drop the baton,” a plea not to abandon a safety net that’s been constructed over the years to protect vulnerable Mainers.

LePage wants to freeze enrollment in MaineCare — the state’s Medicaid program — for some recipients, impose time limits for Temporary Aid for Needy Families, eliminate coverage for legal non-citizens and make other changes.

Opponents say that would hurt children the most. They say many cuts would save money in the short term but cost more over time.

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