Read with interest Joe Lawlor’s excellent (and heartbreaking!) piece about the tragic shortage of group homes for adults with intellectual disabilities in Maine.

However, I believe Joe and the Sunday Telegram are guilty of pulling their punches on the disgraceful legacy of the LePage/Mayhew era in which DHHS budgets were routinely cut or flat-funded when the needs of the populations they serve were escalating.

The culpability of LePage and Mayhew in weakening the safety net for vulnerable Mainers like Hank Homer was of course shared by the enablers in the Republican-controlled Senate during his term in office. For example, Joe points out that while the current waiting list for mentally disabled Mainers stands at 1,580, as recently as 2008 (three years before LePage came into office) it stood at 110.

What LePage did, aided and abetted by the ever willing and oh-so articulate Mayhew, was to push through savage cuts to MaineCare (Medicaid) reimbursements for low income Mainers to balance the state budget. However, the budget shortfall was largely the result of his ill-conceived and much-ballyhooed tax cuts of 2011 which he admitted cost the state $200 million per year in lost revenue.

The Sunday Telegram has done a great service in highlighting the tragically parlous state of Maine’s adult group home industry and the incredible stresses this has placed on the families of the poor souls who inhabit them. But, in my opinion, it missed an opportunity to hold accountable the two ‘public servants’ – LePage and Mayhew, who brought us to this disgraceful place with their thoughtlessness and indifference.

Phil Coupe Sr.


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