Medicaid expansion

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.

A lawsuit that seeks to force Maine's health commissioner to implement Medicaid expansion is now before the state Supreme Judicial Court.

The LePage administration has appealed a lower court's order to start the process. But consumer advocacy groups have filed arguments against further delays for the law that's supposed to take effect in less than two weeks.

The LePage administration said Monday that it will fight a state judge's order directing the Governor to file paperwork to expand Medicaid services, despite the fact that Medicaid expansion was approved by Maine voters last year.

Court: Maine Must Submit Medicaid Plan, Despite Appeal

Jun 18, 2018

AUGUSTA, Maine - A Maine judge says Republican Gov. Paul LePage's administration must still file a plan to expand Medicaid as voters demanded despite ongoing litigation.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the order saying the executive branch's failure to follow the people's will could promote disrespect for laws.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photo

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills is recusing herself from any pending legal actions involving Medicaid expansion, citing her candidacy for governor and stated support for Medicaid expansion

“If there is a role for this office to play, I will defer to their judgement in that regard," Mills says. "It’s important to recognize that I am a candidate for Governor in Tuesday’s primary election and I have taken a strong position on Medicaid expansion.”

Maine Public staff/file

The LePage administration is appealing a judge's order issued Monday that requires the state to begin implementing the expansion of Medicaid approved by Maine voters in 2017.

In an email sent to Maine Public Thursday night, Julie Rabinowitz, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, says Commissioner Ricker Hamilton appealed Monday's decision.

"The Commissioner has appealed and asked the Law Court to expedite briefing on this important constitutional question," Rabinowitz says, in a brief statement.  "An appropriation is essential to implementing any major public program, and Medicaid expansion is no different."

Maine Public staff

A Superior Court judge has ruled that the LePage administration must expand Medicaid.

The decision, issued Monday, orders the state to submit a plan to the federal government within a week. Advocates say that means enrollment should begin on July 2, for the 70,000 people who are eligible.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine Legislature's Appropriations Committee is meeting to see if Democrats and Republicans are any closer to a compromise on a supplemental budget.
Committee members on Wednesday will consider unfunded bills, bond proposals and other measures left on the table when lawmakers adjourned last month with unfinished business. Some of the matters must be dealt with before the end of the fiscal year on June 30.
One of the biggest sticking points is funding to get the ball rolling to expand Medicaid.

Steve Mistler / Maine Public

A superior court judge could soon determine whether the LePage administration can continue delaying implementation of a law designed to provide health coverage for roughly 70,000 low-income Mainers.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Several health care advocacy organizations in Maine are suing the state over its refusal to expand Medicaid. The lawsuit, filed Monday in Kennebec County Superior Court, seeks to compel the Department of Health and Human Services to implement Medicaid expansion after it missed a deadline to file an application with the federal government.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine health care providers, lawmakers and advocates are planning to rally to demand that Maine take action on voter-approved Medicaid expansion.
The state faces a Tuesday deadline to submit a routine application to ensure roughly $500 million in annual federal funding for expansion.
The tens of thousands of low-income individuals who could benefit from such expansion are still waiting for Gov. Paul LePage's administration and lawmakers to take action.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's Republican governor is claiming without providing evidence that President Donald Trump's administration will only let the state expand Medicaid if Maine lawmakers put the money up.
The tens of thousands of low-income individuals who could benefit from voter-approved Medicaid expansion are waiting for Gov. Paul LePage's administration and lawmakers to take action.