PORTLAND, Maine — U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud on Monday challenged Gov. Paul LePage to exhibit “leadership and action” in light of problems with a state-funded nonemergency ride program.
Michaud is a Democratic candidate for governor and is challenging Republican LePage for the office in 2014.
The $40 million ride program, funded under the state’s Medicaid program, MaineCare, provides rides to medical appointments for eligible participants but in recent months has been plagued with problems after administrative changes to the program in 2012.
The program was switched to a third-party broker system after concerns from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that delivering the rides and brokering them was vulnerable to conflict-of-interest problems.
In a statement on his campaign website Monday, Michaud demanded that LePage’s administration cancel the contracts and attempt to recover money the state has paid for the delivery service.
Michaud said “bumps and growing pains” could be expected with any transition but that the new system was broken “beyond repair and isn’t getting better.”
Detailing a variety of examples of rides gone awry, Michaud said the state was paying for a service it wasn’t getting. He said it was up to LePage to acknowledge the program was falling apart.
“Maine should cancel the contract and get our money back,” Michaud said. “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.”
Brent Littlefield, LePage’s political adviser, responded in an email Monday night that “Michaud should spend his time fixing Obamacare, for which he voted, before he criticizes a department of the state.”