Also known as, ''An Act To Establish Universal Home Care for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities,'' Question One is a referendum that will be put to Maine voters in November of 2018.
This referendum claims to pay for "in-home and community support services to individuals and families" for individuals with no means test to qualify. In reality, it would create yet another wait list for services for our elderly and our people with disabilities.
- This initiated bill establishes the Universal Home Care Program to provide in-home and community support services for all people with disabilities living in Maine who require assistance with an activity of daily living and people 65 years of age or older who are living in Maine and who require assistance with an activity of daily living, without regard to income, to be funded by a new tax of 3.8% on income and wages that exceed the maximum wages subject to social security employment taxes. (See complete bill)
- LD 1864 did not receive enough votes in both chambers of the Legislature to pass
- However, a citizen’s initiative, backed by the Maine People’s Alliance and receiving a $350,000 boost from billionaire philanthropist George Soros, did receive enough citizen signatures to be put on the ballot in November as a referendum.
At Bridges Home Services, a division of Spectrum Generations, we know that Maine has the oldest population in the nation. As our loved ones age, many find it difficult to live independently at home without the support of in-home care.
- Money alone is not the issue. We need to address the shortage of home care workers – both professional clinicians and direct care workers – by creating more and better pathways to a career in long term care. We recognize from firsthand experience that there is a current shortage of direct care workers to provide in-home care to our growing elder population
- We share the concern that some older adults who are not eligible for MaineCare are forced to spend down their life savings to qualify for home-based care, or are placed into nursing facilities, often far away from families
- We have advocated tirelessly - and successfully - to support investments in our direct care workers. Over the past five years, we have secured an additional $12 million in reimbursement rates to attract and retain them
- We have advocated for better access to broadband to support the provision of telehealth and telemedicine services that older adults and others increasingly depend upon, especially in rural Maine
- We continually address food insecurity and housing shortages that also challenge Maine seniors
This Citizen’s Initiative Proposal does not appropriately address the important issues facing Home Based Care. Instead, it creates more problems. We oppose this referendum for the following reasons:
- Unconstitutional Delegation of Power: The referendum, if passed, will result in nine privately elected persons from within the home health care industry controlling a $310 million project with no one being accountable to the citizens. The initiative proposes that collected tax money be placed in the hands of a private organization, with oversight by private citizens/organizations. This private organization would have autonomy to disperse funds at their discretion;
- Forced Unionization: All providers that wish to provide services to consumers under the Universal Home Care initiative must be unionized;
- This private group will have the power to create an additional bureaucracy to administer a program separate from MaineCare. This will result in unnecessary administrative costs and poorer services for Maine seniors;
- Privacy: All consumers' private medical information can and will be disseminated to private organizations for review with no oversight as to how that information will used or further disseminated. Our patients’ personal medical records and contact information would be distributed to multiple private groups with no repercussions if that information is misused;
- We believe working through the Legislative process will yield the best results for our patients, rather than changing policy and establishing new taxes through the referendum process;
For more information visit stopthescammaine.com.