Who is Mary Mayhew?
Mary Mayhew formerly served as Maine’s commissioner of Health and Human Services, where she spent years working to dismantle the state’s Medicaid program. Her restructuring of the state’s Medicaid program had devastating health consequences for women and families.
Mayhew is expected to take the same ax to the federal Medicaid program. That would endanger coverage for millions of women, who make up a majority of adult Medicaid beneficiaries and who rely on Medicaid for birth control, maternity care, cancer screenings, long-term services and other essential care. Mayhew’s appointment is part of the Trump-Pence administration's pattern of installing leaders dedicated to gutting the programs they’re charged with overseeing.
Mainers voted to expand Medicaid in the state. But Mayhew still blocked it. Her efforts kept 80,000 Mainers from accessing health care coverage they need through Medicaid.Press Herald
Mayhew’s efforts to restrict Medicaid in Maine coincided with severe negative health consequences. During her tenure, the state’s infant mortality rate skyrocketed, the percentage of uninsured children rose, and the state’s national health ranking dropped from 8th in the country to 23rd.Thinkprogress
Mayhew has said that she’s vehemently anti-abortion and supports policy that restricts access to safe, legal abortion.Bangor Daily News
[Mayhew] destroyed Medicaid in Maine. [Now], she will destroy it in the whole country.”
Dr. Cathleen London
Maine family physician
As part of the administration, Mayhew plays a role in approving state requests to implement Medicaid work requirements — which would severely restrict access to the program. She’ll also likely play a role in greenlighting state efforts to block people who rely on Medicaid from accessing care at Planned Parenthood health centers.Planned Parenthood
Health advocates — including policy experts and the ACLU — have expressed alarm about Mayhew’s appointment. “Make no mistake, she was hired for her cruelty with the express purpose to dismember Medicaid,” said former Maine state Rep. Diane Russell.Truthout
Medicaid is the largest payer of reproductive health care coverage, paying for nearly half of all births and 75 percent of family planning services in the United States. Because of systemic barriers that make Black and Latina women more likely to be have low incomes and be uninsured, about 30 percent of Black women and 24 percent of Latinas ages 15 to 44 are enrolled in Medicaid — so, cuts to the program disproportionately hurt women of color’s access health care, particularly reproductive care.Guttmacher Institute
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
HHS is charged with protecting the health of all Americans. The Trump-Pence administration has reshaped HHS to roll back reproductive rights and limit access to health care.