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Advocates: Transportation Changes Hurting MaineCare Clients

Nora Flaherty

PORTLAND, Maine - Advocates for Maine's poor and homeless say changes to MaineCare are leaving many clients without reliable transportation, and that the results can be catastrophic for some.

Until a few months ago, Maine Care provided clients with regular appointments with unlimited monthly bus passes; but now, the state contracts transportation to several companies statewide, and clients who don't have a regular daily appointment - like methadone treatment - only receive bus passes to medical appointments.

Brian Townsend is with the Opportunity Alliance. At a press event this afternoon, he said the unlimited bus passes made it possible for many of his organization's clients to do things that substantially improved their lives.

"Being able to travel from an appointment with a doctor, to a support group meeting, to a wellness class at the YMCA, to the grocery store, to a job interview, and on and on," Townsend said.

Without the passes, Townsend says many clients' efforts to keep up with appointments, get preventative care, and manage their lives in other ways are more likely to falter.

Nora is originally from the Boston area but has lived in Chicago, Michigan, New York City and at the northern tip of New York state. Nora began working in public radio at Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor and has been an on-air host, a reporter, a digital editor, a producer, and, when they let her, played records.