Maine's voter-approved Medicaid expansion is scheduled to begin today - but it remains blocked by Gov. Paul LePage. LePage has vowed to veto a bill funding the state's share of the cost and refused to file paperwork needed to tap into federal funding.
Advocates sued and a judged ruled that expansion must go forward.
Maine Equal Justice Partners' Policy Director Chris Hastedt says the law requires that the state take applications and provide benefits starting now.
"So if a person applies for Medicaid expansion today and is ultimately found eligible the assistance they receive, the medical care that they receive, will be covered back to the day they applied," Hastedt says. "So the very best advice we can give to people is apply as soon as possible beginning today and ensure that you protect your right to the care that the law provides for you."
Advocates say they hope the courts will intervene and tell the Department of Health and Human Services to process applications and provide assistance.