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December 8, 2011 | last updated December 9, 2011 11:00 am

Supplemental budget cuts MaineCare

A supplemental budget unveiled Tuesday by Gov. Paul LePage seeking to address a $120 million shortfall in the Department of Health and Human Services includes eliminating MaineCare for more than 65,000 Maine residents.

LePage's proposal includes stricter eligibility requirements for MaineCare, the state's version of Medicaid for low-income residents, and would eliminate some services and deny coverage for childless adults, 19- and 20-year-olds and some parents, according to the Bangor Daily News. Services facing cuts include substance abuse prevention programs, occupational and physical therapy and adult family care.The changes would bring Maine's services in line with national benchmarks. About 30% of Maine residents, or 361,000 people, are on Medicaid, while the national average is about 20%, LePage said at a press conference. Democrats opposed the proposal, saying it would hurt low-income residents and families, and also asking DHHS to verify its projected shortfall figures.

The appropriations committee will hold hearings on the supplemental budget next week. LePage hopes to make the MaineCare changes effective April 1, 2012, the paper reported.

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