AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - A rift between leading Democrats on the Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee and the LePage administration is growing deeper.
Democrats are slamming the Department of Health and Human Services for what they call a number of management failures. Today the committee met to discuss those issues but officials from DHHS, including Commissioner Mary Mayhew, did not attend further angering committee leaders. Comments from the Governor Today did not help the situation.
"It's appropriate for them to have a meeting, but I don't see why Commissioner Mayhew needs to be there, they have the report. If they needed teaching, somebody to help them read, that's a different ball game. I can send an English teacher or someone if they need it", Lepage said when asked why Mayhew did not attend.
Committee members say they wanted Mayhew in attendance to answer serious questions and concerns they have about the complaint riddled Maine Care ride program, the state's psychiatric hospital losing 20-million dollars in federal funding and the decision to hire an outside consultant at a cost of nearly a million dollars to address issues within the Medicaid program.
"It makes me angry, because it's a level of arrogance that I just find it impossible to believe. A lack of respect for the for the function of the division of powers", said Rep. Richard Farnsworth (D) House Chair of the committee.
Commissioner Mayhew did agree to answer questions in writing sent to her by committee members. Those answers came in right before the meeting started. The committee Chairman says that didn't give committee members enough time to digest the answers or to get answers to follow up questions.