Medicaid expansion

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's governor says he'll deny applications for aid under a voter-approved Medicaid expansion until lawmakers provide funding under his terms.

Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

The LePage administration has filed a plan with the federal government to provide for the expansion of Medicaid to some 70,000 Mainers, just as voters approved nearly a year ago. But LePage has strongly opposed the initiative, and so has also asked the feds to reject the plan.

Rebecca Conley / Maine Public

In a 6-1 decision, Maine's highest court has ruled that the LePage administration must begin the process of implementing the Medicaid expansion law that voters passed last year.

Mainers In Limbo As State Doesn't Confirm Medicaid Denials

Aug 20, 2018

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine residents seeking health coverage under voter-approved Medicaid expansion remain in limbo as the administration refuses to confirm it's denying such coverage.

Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services is rejecting consumers’ applications to get health coverage under Medicaid expansion.

Robyn Merrill of Maine Equal Justice Partners says she has confirmed with an attorney for DHHS that the department is denying coverage.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

The legal dispute over Medicaid expansion came before the Maine Supreme Court Wednesday afternoon.

The Maine Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday afternoon to determine whether the LePage administration must move forward to implement Medicaid expansion.

The LePage administration is appealing a lower court's order that it file an application with the federal government.  The state Supreme Court granted a temporary stay on that order until it could hear arguments in the case.

Maine Equal Justice Partners and other advocacy groups sued the LePage administration last spring to implement expansion, which was approved by voters last November. 

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Maine's fiscally conservative governor says he'd rather go to jail before expanding Medicaid and putting the state in "red ink.''

Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, told WVOM Radio Tuesday that he can't be forced to expand eligibility for Medicaid without an approved funding plan. 

"Nobody can force me to put the state in red ink," LePage said. "And I will not do that.  So, you can tell the Maine people, I'd go to jail before I put the state in red ink."

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine House of Representatives Monday upheld Gov. Paul LePage's veto of a bill that would have funded voter-approved Medicaid expansion in Maine.

Maine lawmakers are back at the State House this week to handle dozens of vetoes from Gov. Paul LePage and to take up several unresolved issues.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's Republican governor is publicly laying out a proposed tax hike on hospitals to pay for voter-approved Medicaid expansion.
 
Gov. Paul LePage's office says Medicaid expansion will offset a tax hike by decreasing charity care and bad debt. Maine's hospital tax rate is 2.23 percent, and Rabinowitz said Maine could go up to six percent.
 
Maine Hospital Association lobbyist Jeffrey Austin previously told The Associated Press that Maine hospitals pay $100 million in annual taxes and would oppose an increase.
 

Steve Mistler / Maine Public

Under the Medicaid expansion law that voters approved last November, Mainers who earn less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level could be eligible for MaineCare, the state's name for its Medicaid program, starting Monday.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

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.

Maine's highest court has granted the LePage administration's request to delay expanding Medicaid, at least temporarily.

Medicaid expansion is supposed to take effect July 2, but the law is on hold until oral arguments in a lawsuit are heard in mid-July.

In a one-page order issued Wednesday, Chief Justice Leigh Saufley granted a temporary stay that gives the LePage administration more time to file a Medicaid expansion plan with the federal government, at least until after oral arguments on the matter are heard.

Maine Public

A number of high-profile bills remain unresolved as the Maine Legislature is approaching the end of its three day special session.

Lawmakers sent several proposals to Gov. Paul LePage, including a $41 million spending bill to provide funding to help the elderly and disabled, as well as people suffering from opioid use disorders.

A $35 million bill to fund the implementation of Medicaid expansion has also passed, but it faces a likely veto by LePage.

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