Trump’s New Federal Medicaid Director Opposes Medicaid Expansion

LISBON, ME - JUNE 6: Mary Mayhew announces her run for governor at Dingley Press on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. (Staff photo by Derek Davis/Staff Photographer)
Portland Press Herald/Portland Press Herald

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — President Donald Trump has tapped a Maine official who battled Medicaid expansion for a position that puts her in charge of the national program, the federal agency confirmed Monday.

Mary Mayhew’s role of deputy administrator and director of the U.S. Center for Medicaid and the CHIP Services will place her in charge of the federal health care program for low-income people.

Seema Verma, the head of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, confirmed the hire and cited Mayhew’s work as commissioner of Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services under Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

“I look forward to having Mary join the CMS leadership team and would like to thank Tim Hill for his leadership as Acting Center Director,” Verma said in a statement.

Mayhew did not immediately return a phone call and an email seeking comment. Zach Lingley, a spokesman for Mayhew during the campaign, declined to comment on the hire.

She served as commissioner of Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services for seven years, and during that time, pressed for welfare reform under LePage. Mayhew and LePage are both strong opponents of expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

When she announced her run for governor last year, Mayhew said: “I adamantly reject that growing government is the answer to our challenges.”

The state reinstated work requirements for food stamps recipients and drug testing of some welfare recipients during her time as commissioner.

Her resume also includes working as partner in the Augusta public affairs firm Hawkes & Mayhew and serving for more than a decade as the vice president at the Maine Hospital Association.

Mayhew was once a Democrat and lobbyist but ran for governor as a Republican. She came in third in the June primary, losing to nominee Shawn Moody, who is in a race against Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills and a pair of independents.

Mayhew espoused conservative talking points during the gubernatorial campaign, some of which echoed LePage, an outspoken conservative to whom she was a top lieutenant. She proposed eliminating the state income tax and came out against the state’s ranked choice voting system, which is touted by progressives.

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