Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Muskie School brings experts and community together for health policy colloquia

The Muskie School of Public Service hosted two health policy colloquia this April to promote informed discussion throughout the state regarding MaineCare coverage options under the ACA and the implications of Vermont’s move toward a single-payer system.The series, sponsored by the Muskie School Board of Visitors, offers community conversations in which experts from various disciplines and perspectives inform and engage the broader public to explore and debate critical policy issues.

On April 8, the school presented Examining MaineCare’s Coverage Options Under the Affordable Care Act. More than 100 registrants from throughout the state joined national and state experts to address the issue of MaineCare expansion under the ACA. Featured speakers included Joseph Antos, Wilson H. Taylor Scholar in Health Care and Retirement Policy at American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC, as well as Sara Rosenbaum, Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.

ADHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew and experts discuss MaineCarentos and Rosenbaum were joined by a panel of public health and health care experts from throughout the state, including Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew; David Howes, president of Martins Point Health Care; and Sara Gagne-Holmes, executive director of Maine Equal Justice Partners. Trish Riley, adjunct professor of health policy at the Muskie School and lecturer in state health policy at George Washington University facilitated.

On April 22, community and sector leaders joined for Global Budgets, Payment Reform, and Single Payer: Understanding Vermont's Health Reform. Participants discussed Vermont's recent movie toward single payer health care and how the state is cutting costs and improving how health care is delivered, as well as the implications for Maine.

Presenter Anya Rader Wallack and panelistsAnya Rader Wallack, chair of the Green Mountain Care Board, presented on ways in which the state is seeking to make heath care a public good, creating an integrated delivery system, and moving to a single system where access to health coverage is not linked to employment.

Wallack was joined by panelists Elizabeth Mitchell, former CEO of Maine Health Management Coalition; Katherine Pelletreau, executive director of Maine Association of Health Plans; Rep. Charles Priest, of the board of directors at Maine AllCare; and Stefanie Nadeau, director of MaineCare Services.

Muskie staff and faculty published two research briefs associated with the colloquia:

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"Examining MaineCare’s Coverage Options Under the Affordable Care Act," prepared by Erika Ziller and Trish Riley for an April 8, 2013 colloquium that explored the options and implications of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for Maine. 

"Global Budgets, Payment Reform and Single Payer: Understanding Vermont’s Health Reform," prepared by Trish Riley for an April 22, 2013 colloquium that explored Vermont's health reform initiatives and the lessons they may have for Maine.

Cutler Institute awarded $600,000 to help youth raised in foster system

Marty Zanghi

USM's Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy has been awarded a $600,000 grant to help young people raised in Maine's foster system to prepare for college and the workforce.

The money comes from the Annie E. Casey Foundation as part of a $5.4 million national effort aimed at youth who are homeless or in either the foster care or juvenile justice systems.

"Many of these young people have suffered abuse or trauma and were raised in poverty and neglect," said Marty Zanghi, the Cutler Center's youth development director.

The money -- including an expected $400,000 more in matching funds -- will pay for contracted work with agencies in the target areas, starting with the greater Portland area and Penobscot, Kennebec and Somerset counties.

Nationally and in Maine, only about 3 percent of people who grow up in the foster care system achieve a college degree, he said.

"It's dramatically lower than the rate for the general population," Zanghi said. "It's a horrible outcome."

It doesn't have to be that way, though.

"There are young people that overcome these circumstances," he said. "I know people who have master's degrees and Ph.Ds."

The Casey Foundation's national effort is being called the "Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential" (LEAP) initiative.

The initiative is working on partnerships in Maine and nine other areas: Alaska, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and New York. In each case, people will adapt two evidence-based models to meet the needs of these youth, including support to address the trauma they may have experienced in their lives.

In Maine, the work will include a pair of successful programs, Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG) and Jobs for the Future. Results will be carefully tracked, Zanghi said.

After the first year, the program is expected to grow.

"Eventually, the additional help will be available to all children, 14 and over, in the foster care system in the state of Maine," Zanghi said.

New Chartbook on the Use of Maine's Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS)

Long Term Services and Supports Cover page image

Long term services and supports (LTSS) are a vital lifeline for the thousands of Maine adults who need them, and they account for a significant portion of the state's Medicaid (MaineCare) budget.This Chartbook prepared by the research staff at the USM Muskie School, provides information on all Maine adults who use LTSS: older adults; adults with physical disabilities; adults with intellectual disabilities/autism spectrum disorder or other related conditions; and adults with acquired brain injury.

The information provided in this Chartbook about the demographic trends that impact Maine's service system as well as data on the typical MaineCare service utilization and expenditures of different LTSS populations will inform the discussion among policymakers, providers, consumers, and advocates as they work together to ensure that Maine’s system of LTSS meets the needs of all its citizens.

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