AUGUSTA, Maine(NEWS CENTER) -- Maine's huge Medicaid program -- also known as Maine Care --is facing another big budget shortfall.

Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew told legislators on Thursday the program is being hit by steadily rising costs for the neediest Maine Care patients, and the department has not been able to accurately predict how much money will be spent each year.

Mayhew says the Medicaid program has had similar shortfalls for the past ten years, and some of them have been larger than this one. She says that just twenty percent of Maine Care patients account for 87 percent of the costs. And because medical costs keep going up, she says the costs for the program keep climbing. But Mayhew also blames the Legislature for the problem.

She says lawmakers were not willing to support the changes she and the Governor proposed. Despite that, Mayhew says she is ready to work with the new Legislature to figure out how to change program guidelines, eligibility and other things to help control costs.

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