AUGUSTA – To keep in home services running for Maine’s senior citizens, a bipartisan bill in Augusta is aimed to better reimburse those businesses for their increasing operating costs.
If passed, the measure would cost $8.5 million.
“The closure of Home Care for Maine must be a wake up call for all of us here in Augusta,” said Sen. Shenna Bellows, D – Manchester.
This year, Home Care for Maine announced after operating too long at a loss, they would be closing and ending their services for elderly and disabled adults.
Thursday, lawmakers unveiled emergency legislation aimed to keep more from shutting their doors, by raising MaineCare reimbursement rates.
“Maine is a valued destination for retirees,” said Sen. Bellows, “…because we are a state who cares about people and who takes care of our neighbors.”
Those in health care services said the reimbursement increase is needed to make up for the rise in minimum wage.
“Republicans reminded administrations that this problem would exist,” said Sen. Dana Dow, R – Waldoboro, who said with the, “increase in the budget, this should’ve been anticipated and it should have been put into it.”
He did say he supports this bill.
Senator Bellows said reimbursement rates have been talked about since as early as 2009.
Regardless of when the issue started, she said thanks to bipartisan support she was able to submit this bill well after the deadline.
“We all need help at some point in out lives,” said Jillian Jolicoeur. “When you or your loved one needs help the most wouldn’t you want to know that care is going to be available for them?”