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Maine department projects $70 million budget gap

November 7, 2011

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AUGUSTA, Maine—Maine's Department of Health and Human Services is projecting a budgetary shortfall of more than $70 million in the current fiscal year.

Department Commissioner Mary Mayhew said Monday the projected shortfall stems from underfunding programs and reflects an increased use of social services and loss of anticipated state revenues.

Mayhew says officials are analyzing the budget to better understand this challenge, seek immediate solutions and to plan for the future.

The department projects more than $10 million in additional physician claims for services than what was originally budgeted, and nearly $5 million in claims carried forward from last fiscal year. Also contributing to the shortfall are projected increases in Medicare Part A, B and D premiums, adding up to $5 million, and failure to achieve some planned cost savings.